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Likud Will Ask Ometz Faction to Sacrifice Safe Knesset Seat

The Herut and Liberal partners in the Likud bloc reportedly reached agreement Thursday to break a pledge to one of Likud’s smaller constituencies for so-called safe spots on their 1988 election slate.

The idea is to free a safe sport or two for their own members, quite possibly a woman candidate.

Under Israel’s election system, citizens vote for parties rather than candidates. Parties win a share of Knesset seats determined by the percentage of total votes they receive.

Each party ranks its candidates on a slate, so candidates at the bottom of the list are unlikely to get elected.

According to an Israel Radio report, Likud will demand a sacrifice from Ometz, a tiny splinter faction headed by former Finance Minister Yigael Hurvitz, once a Likud Liberal.

Hurvitz, a minister without portfolio in the present coalition government, will not be asked to relinquish the No. 6 spot. But his No. 2 man, Zalman Shoval, will be reassigned to a slot near the bottom of the list.

This reportedly was arranged in a private conference between David Levy and Haim Corfu, representing Herut, the largest component of Likud, and Moshe Nissim and Yitzhak Modai, representing the Liberal faction.

But Shoval, a onetime Knesset member for the now defunct Rafi faction and a longtime close adviser to the late Moshe Dayan, claimed Thursday he was not told of his demotion on the party list, and he professed disbelief.

“Surely they cannot afford to break their solemn agreement with us,” he said.

As the Likud Knesset slate now stands, Herut will have 31 candidates among the top 45; the Liberal will have 12; and Ometz and the Tami faction, represented by a former religious affairs minister, Aharon Abuhatzeira, will get one each.

SLOT MAY GO TO SARA DORON

The safe slot that Shoval will be expected to vacate may go to one of Likud’s few women Knesset members, Sara Doron, a Liberal. She did poorly in her party’s internal elections.

Now she may be given the No. 40 slot, which, if current opinion polls are correct, is a safe one.

A Herut woman candidate, Limor Livnat, who also placed low in the internal elections, can now expect to be 43 or 44 on the ticket.

But a question mark hangs over the Hurvitz candidacy, because he is embroiled in legal proceedings over the collapse of companies run by his two sons.

The elder Hurvitz guaranteed their loans and is now being sued by the Bank Leumi for several million dollars.

There is speculation he may be forced into bankruptcy, in which case he would withdraw his candidacy for the Knesset.

The Labor Party, meanwhile, is delighted at the spectacle of Likud breaking its pledge to one of its constituents.

Some Laborites may contemplate the same sort of breach with respect to the three men of Ezer Weizman’s Yahad faction, who have been promised safe seats on the Labor slate.

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