Likud Committee transfers power to all members
Party’s Central Committee approves with large majority Netanyahu’s initiative to pass Likud's party list through vote by all Likud members from now on; ‘We came here this evening to open the door so that many of our friends can return home,’ Bibi says prior to vote
On the basis of polls showing less than good results, the Likud Central Committee met in Tel Aviv, and listened to Party Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu, before approving with a large majority his initiative to pass the Likud's party list through a vote by all Likud members from now on, rather than just the Central Committee.
"I know you'll do the right thing," Netanyahu told Likud Central Committee members. "We came here this evening to open the door so that many of our friends can return home. To return them home to the Likud. We came here this evening to say: The Likud is renewing itself, it is getting stronger, the Likud will win," Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu bitterly attacked Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, saying that "he lost the faith of the nation."
"I'm telling you with certainty, the people are expecting us to pass this initiative," emphasized Netanyahu. "And with the same certainty, I am telling you our political opponents are hoping we do not pass it, but we will pass it, because we listen to the heart of the people, the hearts of our friends, our voters, those who want to once again be our voters.
“Because our goal is common and it is one – to return to the people a leadership that believes in the nation, that will strengthen it, that will give it hope and not illusions, security and not weakness," said the Likud leader.
'This maneuver by Netanyahu will harm Likud'
Likud leaders presented a united front behind Netanyahu in their speeches. Knesset Member Limor Livnat said "Kadima is going down in the polls and the Likud, along with the Right, is beginning to be a blocking force. With a little more effort, Olmert won't be able to assemble a government without us, and we are seekers of power, not because we want good jobs. We want power so we can deal with Hamas with a strong hand.
“It's important that we look at ourselves, and within ourselves, with honesty. Is everything okay with us? Most of the Likud Central Committee members are decent people, but on the margins there are those who caused revulsion in the public. We need to take these voices back, those escaped from the Likud, and some of them are already on the way back. Tonight, the public will see that the Central Committee took a brave decision," she said.
David Biton, Mayor of Rishon Letzion, and a political heavyweight within the Central Committee, was one of the few opponents of the initiative.
"This maneuver by Netanyahu will harm Likud because many activists will leave it. In addition, it's not right to do a hijacking on the night before the elections. I am not actively acting against Netanyahu only because the elections are around the corner," he said.