Ex-cabinet minister Benny Begin announces return to Likud
Son of former PM Menachem Begin quit politics in 1999; Begin apparently promised minister post.
Former cabinet minister and Likud MK Benny Begin will soon announce his return to politics and to the Likud Party, and his intention to run in the party primary for the next Knesset list.
Begin, who dropped out of politics and public life in 1999, agreed in talks with Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu over recent weeks to return to the party, after having apparently been promised a ministerial appointment if Netanyahu should win the upcoming elections.
The decisive meeting between the two was held late Saturday at the home of close Netanyahu associate Reuven Rivlin, also a Likud MK, in Jerusalem. During the meeting, Netanyahu and Begin ironed out the details surrounding the latter's return to the party.
As required by law, Begin tendered his resignation from the Geological Survey of Israel to Infrastructure Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer on Sunday, as it is forbidden by law for an employee of a government institution to contend in political races.
Likud faction chairman MK Gideon Sa'ar said of the announcement that Begin's addition will serve as a tremendous power boost for the party.
Begin, a scientist by profession, is the son of Israel's sixth prime minister Menachem Begin, who died in 1992.
Begin served as science minister in Netanyahu's government in 1996, when Likud returned to power, until 1997 when he resigned to protest against the Hebron Agreement, which called for redeployment of Israel Defense Forces troops in the West Bank city of Hebron. In 1999 he ran for prime minister at the helm of the right-wing party Herut - The National Movement, but resigned from politics after the party failed to win more than four seats.
Netanyahu has been reportedly also trying to recruit to the Likud former minister Dan Meridor, who also resigned from politics, and the son of former prime minister Yitzhak Shamir, Yair Shamir.