Likud candidates pledge loyalty to Netanyahu


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The top 40 candidates on Likud’s candidates list have signed a pledge that they support Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form the next government and will not try to replace him.

The Likud Party on Sunday confirmed the signed statement.

The petition reads, “We the undersigned candidates on the Likud list for the 22nd Knesset emphasize that we will not receive any dictation from any other party. Without regard to the results of the election, Netanyahu is the Likud’s only candidate for prime minister, and there will be no other candidate.”

The statement also said: “Lapid and Gantz (referring to Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid, leaders of the Blue & White Party) , who work against one another, and the Labor party members who replace their leaders every two weeks, can only envy the Likud members who back their party chairman. Their frustration is understandable: Their scheme to replace Netanyahu after the election totally collapsed today.”

The petition reportedly was initiated after Yisrael Beiteinu party head Avigdor Liberman said Saturday night in an interview that he wants a different Likud candidate to be named prime minister, and recommended Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, Ynet reported.

The Blue and White leaders have publicly announced they won’t join a Netanyahu-led government.

Netanyahu earlier this year failed to form a government following the April elections despite the right-wing parties garnering a majority in the Knesset after Liberman refused to join the government unless a draft law obligating haredi Orthodox men to participate in Israel’s mandatory military draft remained unchanged. The haredi parties demanded a softening of the law in order to join the government.

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