Binyamin Netanyahu is “obsessed” with keeping Ayelet Shaked from heading a single rightwing party – and it is damaging the Likud, party officials have told the prime minister. Yediot Acharonot quoted senior Likud sources as saying that Netanyahu’s efforts will end up shooting him in the foot – again.
According to the sources, Netanyahu is not convinced that Shaked and Bennett will recommend him for the prime minister’s position after the election, instead telling President Reuven Rivlin that another figure on the right would be preferable. In addition, Shaked, according to polls, is a vote getter; according to some polls, a single rightwing party, consisting of the New Right, United Right List and Otzma Yehudit could get between 12 and 15 Knesset seats. Netanyahu would prefer some of those votes go to the Likud, with a much smaller presence of one or two parties further to his right.
Netanyahu has gone out of his way to keep Shaked out of the Likud, the sources said, “and now he is working to prevent her from uniting the right. This obsession with Shaked will end up costing us a great deal,” the report quoted the officials as saying.
On a tour of Gush Etzion Monday, Shaked said that it would be the voters who determined who would lead the rightwing camp. “We live in a democratic country, and in a democracy it is the public that makes those decisions.” When asked about Netanyahu’s refusal to accept her into the Likud – and the rumors that it was Netanyahu’s wife who was behind that stance – Shaked refused to respond.
In a statement Monday, Netanyahu said that “in recent days I have gotten many requests to intervene in what is going on with the right, otherwise we could waste another five or six mandates and have to have elections yet again. I am not getting involved in these matters at this time, but if there is a need for me to do so, I will.”