Photo Credit: Oren Nahshon / Flash90
Yair Shamir could replace Avigdor Liberman at the helm of Israel Beitenu.

“There’s no future without immigration, if the majority of the Jewish people aren’t here,” Shamir said. He stopped short of calling for mass immigration from the United States, which has the largest Jewish community in the Diaspora by far, though he said he would be happy “if millions came here.”

One possible reason Shamir may be on Yisrael Beiteinu’s list rather than Likud’s is that Likud holds primaries for its Knesset list, while Yisrael Beiteinu candidates are handpicked by Liberman, aided by a committee.

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“The biggest advantage Yisrael Beiteinu has over anyone is that you have to talk to one person instead of 150,000,” said pollster Mitchell Barak, a former adviser under Likud Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. “There are a lot of backroom deals when it comes to being elected to Knesset” in the Likud primaries.

Shamir feels that Yisrael Beiteinu is no less democratic than any other faction, and that its emphasis on leadership lets it stay true to its principles – the principles, he says, that have always made Israel strong.

“Everyone attacks Liberman, that he’s the party, but why don’t they attack Yair Lapid or Tzipi Livni, who weren’t elected?” he said, referring to the founders of the centrist parties Yesh Atid and Hatnua, respectively. “Yisrael Beiteinu is still young, still hungry. It sets clear lines.”

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