Likud’s young guard not pleased with Netanyahu

PM set to tap current ministers for his Cabinet, ignoring the up-and-coming parliamentarians who bested them in party primaries

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Tzipi Hotovely in the Knesset. (Abir Sultan/Flash 90)
Tzipi Hotovely in the Knesset. (Abir Sultan/Flash 90)

With representatives of potential coalition partners still hashing out the composition of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s next Cabinet, some younger Likud Knesset members who ranked high in the party’s primaries are demanding a seat at the table in place of the older, less-popular MKs whom Netanyahu prefers at his side.

One member of the young guard who feels she should be up for promotion is MK Tzipi Hotovely, who ranked tenth in the November 2012 primaries. Hotovely, 34, railed against Netanyahu’s reported intention to reserve a ministerial seat in the next government for Limor Livnat, a Likud old-timer and the current culture and sports minister. Livnat ranked 18 in the primaries, behind Hotovely and MK Miri Regev (No. 15) among the Likud’s female MKs, and near the bottom of the list of 20 Likud MKs who got into Knesset on the joint slate with Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu party.

Likud MK Limor Livnat. February,  2013. (photo credit: Flash90)
Likud MK Limor Livnat. February, 2013. (photo credit: Flash90)

“It’s a mistake to renew the whole minister list,” Hotovely said in an interview with Galey Israel radio, a settler-run station, on Sunday.

Hotovely noted that despite Livnat’s long career in politics, which included a stint as education minister, she had failed to win the support of Likud members and thus should clear the way for others.

“Limor Livnat came in at the bottom of the list, after she did great service to the country for many years,” Hotovely said. “But we aren’t talking about a difference of a hundred votes between me and Limor Livnat in the primaries. There were thousands of votes’ difference. The decision to favor her over the younger female MKs shows Netanyahu’s lack of faith in the results of his party’s primaries.”

She charged that Netanyahu was sticking to old party politics by regurgitating the same ministerial list.

“In the end, the public will ask itself, ‘Why did we have to go through such tough primaries if the Cabinet doesn’t exhibit any rejuvenation?'” she said.

Regev seconded Hotovely’s opinion, telling Israel Radio that those who placed higher on the list should be first in line to get a ministerial position. Regev insisted that Netanyahu could not disregard the new faces in the party but expressed belief in his ability to balance the old and the new.

MK Danny Danon, who placed sixth on the party list and like Hotovely and Regev has not been linked with a Cabinet post, also voiced his support for drawing up a new panel of ministers for the next government.

“The Likud party needs renewal,” he was quoted by Yedioth Ahronoth as saying on Monday. “We need to integrate the younger people who ranked high on the [primaries] list together with the veterans, but we go with the old guard and set up a Cabinet that’s identical [to the previous one].”

Although talks are still ongoing, the next government will likely number 22-25 ministers divided up between the coalition member parties.

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