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Likud committee bars primary candidate over 2011 assault conviction

David Laniado disqualified from running in upcoming party vote over incident in which he violated house arrest, attacked woman and police officer sent to arrest him

David Laniado, a disqualified candidate in the Likud party primaries. (Channel 12 screenshot; used in accordance with clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
David Laniado, a disqualified candidate in the Likud party primaries. (Channel 12 screenshot; used in accordance with clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

The Likud party disqualified a controversial candidate on Thursday from competing in its upcoming primary, following reports in Hebrew media that he was convicted more than a decade ago for breaking into a home and assaulting a woman.

David Laniado was sentenced to four months in prison and a further six months of probation in 2011 for the incident, which occurred the year before, Channel 12 reported on Wednesday.

Laniado, who was under house arrest following a complaint filed by a woman, reportedly left his home, contrary to his release terms, arrived at the woman’s house and attacked her, as well as the police officer who arrived to arrest him, according to the report.

Judge Menachem Naaman, the chairman of Likud’s election committee, ordered the disqualification of Laniado’s candidacy on Thursday, stating it was “the will of the majority of the members of the election committee.”

Laniado was competing to represent the Tel Aviv district on the 38th spot of Likud’s slate. He was supported by MK David Bitan, who called him a “real Likudnik” and said he had the potential to be an “excellent” lawmaker despite his criminal past.

“So this happened 11 years ago, it’s not something that happened half a year ago or a year ago, you understand me?” Bitan told Channel 12 in July.

MK David Bitan during a plenum session in the Knesset, on October 13, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Following the decision, Laniado claimed he was the victim of a smear campaign by his rivals: “It is also clear to Likud members and officials that the campaign being waged against me is being led by domestic political opponents to harm me and my candidacy.”

The woman who Laniado was convicted of assaulting also responded to his disqualification, denying that any violence took place between them and that the two were now “best friends.”

According to the Walla news site, party chair and opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu led the process to bar Laniado from candidacy.

Netanyahu tried to convince both his spokesperson, Yonatan Urich, and former Israel Hayom editor-in-chief Boaz Bismuth to compete for the Tel Aviv slot.

But Urich ended up withdrawing his candidacy, while Bismuth preferred to run on the party’s national list.

Laniado is not the first Likud primaries candidate to come under fire for his criminal past.

In July, Hebrew media reported that Yonatan Jorno, who declared he was vying for the 29th spot on the Likud slate, was charged and convicted of kidnapping a Filipino worker in 2001.

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