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Likud eschews centrist candidates

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JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Likud Party chose hard-liners over more moderate candidates in a vote to elect the opposition party’s Knesset list.

Two of party leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s favorites — moderates Benny Begin, a former Likud lawmaker, and Moshe Ya’alon, a former army chief — made the top 10 in Monday’s primary.

Far-right candidate Moshe Feiglin, who Netanyahu worked hard to marginalize in an attempt to make the party look more centrist, took the 20th slot, likely ensuring the Jewish Leadership movement leader a Knesset seat.

Polls show the Likud likely to win about 35 seats in the next Knesset. National elections are scheduled for Feb. 10.

The party primary voting hours were extended to 1 a.m. Tuesday due to problems with the computerized voting system.

Meanwhile, the public council of the Habayit Hayehudi Party, which was formed when four religious parties joined together, chose its leader Tuesday.

Rabbi Danny Hershkowitz, a Beersheva professor and the head of the academic faculty and a mathematician at the Technion, will lead the party. Supporters had urged the council to choose a more well-known candidate as leader of a party that includes the National Union and National Religious parties.

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