JERUSALEM (Aug. 16)
An internal Likud investigation has pointed an accusing finger at former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir and his commerce minister, Moshe Nissim, finding they bear at least partial responsibility for the party’s financial crisis.
While not citing names, an investigating committee called on those responsible for Likud’s “administrative failure” in accumulating a $19 million deficit to step down.
This was seen as a reference to Shamir as chairman of the party and to Nissim as party treasurer and chairman of the Likud election campaign.
Knesset members Michael Eitan and Haim Kaufman comprised the investigating committee set up to study the causes of the party’s unprecedented deficit.
They identified as a prime culprit unrealistic projections of the results of the elections, in which Likud lost badly to Labor. Parties receive most of their financing from the state, based on their share of Knesset seats as calculated after the returns are in.
The Likud election budget was based on their previous 39 seats, rather than a more reasonable expectation of around 35, given the loss predicted by the polls, said the committee. In the end, the party received only 32 seats.
As to plans by party leaders to raise up to $4 million in contributions before the elections, the committee said that “only visionaries and incorrigible dreamers” could have believed it possible to reach that goal in such a brief period.