Pressure mounts on Netanyahu over dearth of women on Likud slate

Party officials publish protest letter, while MK Miri Regev calls for the inclusion of ‘strong, suitable’ female candidates

Former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to the media at Likud headquarters in Tel Aviv on July 26, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to the media at Likud headquarters in Tel Aviv on July 26, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Likud officials from around the country published an open letter calling for party chairman Benjamin Netanyahu to give women more spots on Likud’s electoral slate in the wake of last week’s primaries.

The August 16 letter, reported on by Channel 12, expressed “disappointment” over the fact that only two of the top 20 Likud candidates in the primaries were women. Out of the top 35, only six were women.

The mayors of Lod and Ashkelon and the head of the Samaria Regional Council were among the signatories on the letter, the report said.

Netanyahu, who has the power to add several people to the electoral slate, could theoretically include several more women.

The letter noted that other parties made a “strategic decision” to aim for 50 percent female representation in their slates, warning that Likud’s failure to increase the number of women in its slate would be used as “a card against us in future elections.”

MK Miri Regev, the Likud’s highest-ranking woman at number 9, also called on her party to do more to increase female representation in the coming Knesset.

MK Miri Regev in the Knesset in Jerusalem, on February 7, 2022 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

“We should increase the number of women in the Likud slate,” she tweeted. “It’s important that Likud, the biggest party, increase female representation in the party and represent the 50% of the population who are women.”

Regev called for a reshuffle of the Likud list, demanding that “strong, suitable” women be placed in positions that would be likely to guarantee them seats following November’s election.

The centrist Yesh Atid, headed by Prime Minister Yair Lapid, has pledged that four out of every 10 slots on its slate will be filled by women. Merav Michaeli’s center-left Labor party has vowed to make it a 50/50 split.

In the aftermath of last week’s primary vote, Labor took aim at Likud for the dearth of women in its slate, posting a picture of the party’s top vote-getters and adorning three with women’s hair.

“Here, we fixed it for you,” the party quipped on Twitter.

Likud also came under fire for the low number of Druze politicians that made it on to the slate.

Former communications minister Ayoub Kara told 103FM radio, “We must correct the situation whereby the minority representative is only placed at 44th on the Likud list.”

The longtime Likud member is slated to fill that spot, but he is unlikely to make it into the next Knesset given that Likud is polling at between 30 and 35 seats.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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