Elkin to remain coalition chairman (JERUSALEM POST) By GIL HOFFMAN 06/08/12)
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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu decided against firing coalition
chairman Ze’ev Elkin, despite his support for the
controversial “outpost bill” that was defeated in the Knesset,
sources in the Likud said Thursday.
Netanyahu felt undermined by Elkin’s efforts to pass the bill that
would have retroactively legalized unauthorized West Bank Jewish
His associates accused Elkin of serving as a fifth column for the
settlers and for far-right Likud activist Moshe Feiglin.
But Netanyahu decided he would need Elkin’s support on key issues the
coalition will face soon, including finding an alternative to
the “Tal Bill” that would equalize IDF service and changing the
electoral system. Also, efforts to find a replacement for Elkin in
the Likud faction came up empty.
Netanyahu’s former spokesman, MK Ophir Akunis, voted for the outpost
bill and did not express interest in the post. MK Carmel Shama-
Hacohen, who voted against the bill, also turned down the job.
It was also unclear whether Shama-Hacohen, who has enemies in the
Likud, could have defeated Elkin in a secret-ballot vote, which is
required to elect a new chairman of the Likud faction and the
“The chairman of the coalition is doing a terrific job, and I don’t
intend to run against him,” Shama-Hacohen said.
Elkin said he was proud of his vote for the bill. He said he would
have welcomed competition for his job and would have honored the
results of the vote if he was unseated.
Feiglin released a statement saying that the many Likud MKs who voted
for the bill despite the prime minister’s opposition proved that the
thousands of rightists who became Likud members had already made a
significant impact on the party.
The Mattot Arim organization, which monitors right-wing MKs’ loyalty
to the Land of Israel, expressed support for the prime minister’s
decision to keep Elkin in his post.
“We think Elkin should remain coalition head,” Mattot Arim
spokeswoman Susie Dym said. “It is one thing for the political system
to chicken out of doing what needs to be done for the Land of Israel.
It’s another thing entirely for someone to cut the heads off of the
very legislators who are doing what needs to be done. Elkin is a
serious legislator who has been effective on behalf of half a million
Israelis living in strategic land located beyond the 1967 Auschwitz
borders, so why fire him?” (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 06/08/12)
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