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Netanyahu adds former rebel MKs who downed Bennett government to his Likud slate

Ex-justice official who attacked prosecutors over Netanyahu charges is also given spot; new faces have not stymied criticism over lack of female representation in Likud’s list

Likud chairman Benjamin Netanyahu poses with candidates he added to the Likud Knesset slate: (from left) Yossi Fuchs, Tsega Melaku, Idit Silman, Moshe Saada, and Amichai Chikli, September 14, 2022. (Courtesy)
Likud chairman Benjamin Netanyahu poses with candidates he added to the Likud Knesset slate: (from left) Yossi Fuchs, Tsega Melaku, Idit Silman, Moshe Saada, and Amichai Chikli, September 14, 2022. (Courtesy)

Likud chief Benjamin Netanyahu added five new names to his party’s election slate on Wednesday evening, including former Yamina MKs Amichai Chikli and Idit Silman, whose defections were instrumental to the collapse of the so-called change government.

As party leader, Netanyahu has the power to place several candidates of his choice in reserved spots on the electoral slate, which was largely formulated through a primary vote in August. Netanyahu gave Chikli the 14th spot on the list and Silman the 16th spot.

“Likud members elected, via the primaries, a great list that will bring Israel a stable government for four good years, within which we will suppress terror, bring back national pride and lower the cost of living,” Netanyahu said.

“Today, I’m bringing extra strength to our list… all of [the new candidates] are deserving, and all of them have made important achievements in their fields.”

In the 28th spot, Netanyahu placed former Justice Ministry official Moshe Saada, who only recently assailed law enforcement and prosecution officials, claiming their judgment was clouded by their pursuit of Netanyahu, who is on trial for fraud, bribery and breach of trust in three corruption cases.

MK Amichai Chikli at the Knesset House Committee hearing on Yamina’s request to declare him a ‘defector’ from the party, on April 25, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Ethiopian author Tsega Melaku and lawyer Yossi Fuchs are the former prime minister’s final two discretionary placements, further down the list (spots 37 and 43, respectively).

Following its late August primary, Likud faced heavy criticism for producing a list low in female presentation and without a well-placed Ethiopian candidate.

Druze and Russian speakers also complained that Likud offered them no representation, a complaint that does not seem to have been addressed by Wednesday’s additions.

According to The Times of Israel’s Poll of Polls, Likud is projected to win between 31 and 32 seats in November’s election. With Netanyahu’s new addition of Silman, only Miri Regev, Galit Distel, Tally Gotliv, Gila Gamliel, and perhaps May Golan in the 32nd spot are projected to make up Likud’s female cohort in the next Knesset.

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