Israel Daily, Dec 19: Could Netanyahu Be Thrown Out As Likud Party Leader?

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could face dismissal from the Likud Party’s leadership contest, ahead of March’s Knesset elections, over charges of misusing party property and employees for his personal political benefit.

Netanyahu has been summoned to a hearing by the Likud comptroller, Shay Galili. Accusations include use of a conference hall at Likud headquarters in Tel Aviv to promote his candidacy for the party’s leadership. The speech he gave was uploaded to the Likud website, which is deemed party property and thus off-limits to candidates.

The Prime Minister also allegedly used two Likud employees at the Tel Aviv headquarters to invite party members to events, including a Hannukah candle-lighting ceremony with Interior Minister Gilad Erdan on Wednesday.

Netanyahu has not responded to the charges.

The Prime Minister could face a challenge for the Likud leadership, particularly from the party’s right-wing, which has accused him of being “soft” over security in East Jeruslam and the West Bank and the summer war in Gaza.

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Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.

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