Likud comptroller clears way for PM to run in primary

Amid accusations that he used Likud resources for his campaign, Netanyahu to put three advisers on leave until after vote

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the weekly cabinet meeting, December 21, 2014 (photo credit: Emil Salman/pool)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the weekly cabinet meeting, December 21, 2014 (photo credit: Emil Salman/pool)

The top Likud court instructed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday evening to temporarily dismiss three of his advisers, who also hold positions in the party management, until after the primary elections, which are scheduled to take place on Wednesday.

The move paves the way for Netanyahu to run in the Likud primary after he was disqualified last week by the party’s comptroller, Shai Galili, who said that Netanyahu’s conduct was in violation of Israel’s Parties’ Law.

The advisers will be on leave at least until Wednesday midnight, unless the primary ends in a stalemate and a second round is declared.

The court also forbade Netanyahu from promoting his reelection as party leader through the party’s staff and its offices.

The party comptroller has the authority to disqualify candidates for violating the Parties’ Law.

According to Israeli Radio, attorney David Shimron, who represented Netanyahu, said that even though the prime minister may have unwittingly violated the party law with some of his actions, from now on he would take special precautions.

Among examples of Netanyahu’s use of party property and staff to advance his campaign, Galili last week cited the use of a hall in Metzudat Ze’ev — which belongs to the Likud as a place to hold political conferences — as well as using Likud party staffers to advance his candidacy.

Galili said he was aware of the unusual implications for the Likud of his threat to disqualify Netanyahu from running in the party primaries. The Likud comptroller explained last week that the prime minister’s violations of the Parties’ Law “were so extensive that I had no alternative sanction other than disqualification.”

According to the Hebrew daily Haaretz, Netanyahu was instructed to temporarily dismiss from service only two of his advisers — his political adviser, Kobi Tzoref, and his chief of staff at Metzudat Ze’ev, Hany Bleivis.

read more:
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed