Benjamin Netanyahu Rules Likud with a Cult of Personality — Rival Accuses

This was said as Prime Minister Netanyahu promises quick Covid vaccinations.

Photos By : Haim Zach / GPO

Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu rules through a cult of personality and is most concerned with his personal benefit, charged a former ally of his Zeev Elkin on Israeli television today. A current cabinet minister from Mr. Netanyahu’s own Likud Party, Zeev Elkin announced last week that he was leaving it to join a new party called New Hope.

The New Hope party was only just formed with the decision to call for new elections only a year after the previous ones were held. It was founded by its leader Gideon Sa’Ar who was also once a rising star within the Likud. But he left that party claiming that Mr. Netanyahu pushed him out because he was too popular. This, Sa’ar says, made him a possible threat to Netanyahu’s control over the Likud. A number of current Likud members of the Knesset have already declared their intent to run in the next elections with a different political party.

Mr. Elkin made the comments in an interview with Israel’s Channel 12 “Meet the Press” news program. He also dismissed out of hand any possibility of rejoining with the Likud Party in some sort of joint elections list or serving with it in the next Israeli coalition government as long as Benjamin Netanyahu continues to be its leader and candidate for Prime Minister. He said, “We won’t join Netanyahu in any form [politically], because his personal interests are guiding his decisions.”

“And that makes it Benjamin dangerous. Netanyahu feels persecuted, he suspects everyone, the atmosphere is one of a cult of personality. This is precisely what we want to change.”

Meanwhile the Israeli Prime Minister is telling his people to expect a quick roll out of the Coronavirus vaccinations. Benjamin Netanyahu said that he expects at least one quarter of all Israelis will have received the Covid-19 shots within only one month’s time.

Mr. Netanyahu tweeted, “We are starting the week with gigantic news. I spoke over the weekend with the heads of the companies that are providing us with the vaccines and I told them that our goal by next weekend is to reach 150,000 vaccines a day.”

The announcement was made as Israelis entered a third national lockdown which began at 5 P.M. local time today, Sunday. The government is saying that this will last for at least a few weeks and even up to one month. But there is a great deal of uncertainty. Today a group of ultra-orthodox protestors blocked a major highway in Israel, the Geha Highway 4, to protest the implementation of the lockdown which will require their community to limit prayer services and study in Tora academies.

Israelis have not honored the lockdowns in full and many have not followed the general guidelines for behavior in the periods after each of the previous two shutdowns. Experts have cited this as a reason why the country must now endure a third such closure.

On this note Prime Minister Netanyahu also tweeted a plea for Israelis to obey the rules saying, “please, we are heading to a huge vaccines operation unlike anything in the world and I ask you at the same time to do the short and tightened lockdown. The two things together will get us out of the coronavirus first in the world. Have a good week.”

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