After failing to integrate Otzma Yehudit into the Rightwing Union, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has sent word to Zehut party chairman Moshe Feiglin that if he resigns from the race for the upcoming elections, Likud would help cover his debts from the previous and current campaign, Channel 13 reported Tuesday night.
Feiglin’s debt is estimated at 3 million shekel (about $700,000).
Likud also proposed a meeting between Netanyahu and Feiglin, to discuss ways of saving the rightwing bloc, which, at the moment, cannot rise above the 54 to 57 seat bar without Avigdor Liberman’s Israel Beiteinu – which refuses to play nice with Netanyahu.
Some Netanyahu associates believe Feiglin would be a valuable asset inside the Likud—the party that spewed him out a few years ago, Channel 13 reported, noting that Feiglin proposed to set up a special headquarters for Russian speakers that would collaborate with Likud’s efforts to block Liberman’s rise.
Another reason is that Feiglin on the Likud slate would siphon votes from Ayelet Shaked’s Rightwing Union. According to these advisers, every vote for Feiglin is a vote away from Shaked.
Feiglin has not yet commented on the report, but on his Facebook page he warned Wednesday morning that if no changes are made in Israel’s social security system, then in just three years, beginning in 2022, there will be a deficit that could, by 2037, bankrupt the entire institution. Meaning he is aware of the danger of letting deficits accumulate.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Netanyahu said in a meeting with Likud members in Eilat that Yair Lapid, Avigdor Liberman and some right-wing politicians are planning to recommend to President Rivlin another candidate from the Likud to form the next government.
An excitable Netanyahu said: “In addition to hypocrisy, they really want to destroy democracy, because they have concocted a combination. What’s the combination? Lapid, Liberman, a few others, they have a combination. I wouldn’t be surprised if it includes a few from the right, in our midst. What’s the plan? They want to realize their ambition to be prime ministers, but they have a problem because the public chooses Likud.”
But which part Likud will realize the victory is still an open issue, according to Netanyahu.
Yair Lapid tweeted back Catch-22 author Joseph Heller’s immortal quote: “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.”