Monday, December 26, 2005

Likud cleaning house

From Arutz Sheva:

The Likud Central Committee focused on unity, image and cleaning out corruption on Monday evening in Tel Aviv at its first meeting since Binyamin Netanyahu was elected party leader.

The theme of the gathering, reflected in a huge banner, was the party’s new “path of renewal.”In his address to the Committee, the Likud Chairman called for the approval of Silvan Shalom as Number Two candidate in the Likud’s Knesset list, as an expression of unity. “We must close ranks,” he said. “There are no camps and no factions. We are one camp.”

Shalom echoed Netanyahu’s words with his own call to “back the elected head and march to victory. There are no more camps,” he reiterated. Shalom was approved for the second spot on the list.

Netanyahu’s next proposal underscored the party’s need to clean up its image. “Criminal elements have entered our movement,” he charged. “Their place is not among us. They can go elsewhere, to another party.”

In a move that recalled better times while presenting a new face to the Israeli public, Netanyahu said he will make a formal motion to disallow any candidate who has been convicted of a crime. “We want a clean movement,” he emphasized, “like we learned from Menachem Begin.”

The Kadima Party was Netanyahu’s next target. "The real election is between our policies and policies ... that encourage terror," he said.

Trying to pull support from the south and voters wearing the IDF uniform, Netanyahu promised to give “spacious apartments” to discharged soldiers, to be located in southern Israel. Netanyahu also reviewed his past performance as Finance Minister, insisting that his “proper economic policies” had lowered unemployment, added 200,000 new workers to the economy and added “billions of shekels” to the nation’s coffers. He promised to “help the weak more,” and said “That’s the first thing I’ll be doing as a prime minister.”

The Committee also approved a proposal to postpone the party primaries to January 12th, a week later than originally planned.