New Party Forms to Represent Southern Israel

YERUSHALAYIM -

Likud Central Committee members who live in southern Israel are fed up with bearing the brunt of Hamas terrorism while getting scant attention from the centers of government in the north and they’re vowing not to take it anymore.

The ongoing rocket barrage from Gaza has spawned a new political party, to represent the security and economic interests of the region, The Jerusalem Post reported on Sunday.

“There is no one today who cares about the South, not even Amir Peretz, who lives in Sderot,” said Ran Levy, an Ashkelon pharmacist who is planning to register Hadromim (“The Southerners”) in time for the next election.

“We have been under fire for 14 years. The only solution is capturing Gaza. Everything else is just cosmetic.”

When asked why he does not throw his support to one of the parties advocating a stronger defense policy, he dismissed them as not serious.

“Lieberman and Bennett just talk, when we need immediate action,” he said, referring to what he considers unrealistic calls for annexation of Gaza or parts of Yehuda and Shomron.

As senior coalition partners Yisrael Beiteinu and Jewish Home “have just as much responsibility for the situation as Netanyahu, because they have not quit. The Likud street is boiling. MK’s told me not to leave. But as long as Netanyahu is the chairman of the party, I can’t stay.”

Levy has been with Likud for 25 years and is a member of the central committee. He said he has been convincing many of his friends in the party to join him.

Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon, who chairs the Likud central committee, is working to keep the exasperated southerners in the party, and has invited Levy to address the next central committee meeting in two weeks in Ariel.

Prime Minister and Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu is expected to be there too.

“Netanyahu will hear harsh criticism at the meeting,” Danon said. “We need to stop stuttering and instead go to war with Hamas.”