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Following protests by Likud members, chairman Benjamin Netanyahu decided to abandon plans to increase the number of candidates each voter could choose in the upcoming primary election. Netanyahu had planned to allow party members to choose 15 candidates, instead of the current 10 specified in the party's constitution. His associates said the increase was meant to counter bloc-voting deals and sideline the Jewish Leadership camp within Likud, led by Moshe Feiglin. Likud's constitutional committee determined not to change the current balloting format, while permitting Netanyahu to decide how new immigrants will be represented in Likud's list of primary candidates. Netanyahu is rumored to favor separate lists for immigrant candidates.

Student leaders intend to form a new national party to advance the goals of students and young Israelis. The party, which is to be named "Tzabar," will be headed by Tel Aviv University Student Union Chairman Boaz Toporovsky, who has teamed up with National Student Association leader Netanel Izak. The party's platform will focus on "promoting young leadership and education." Additionally, the party plans to campaign to reduce tuition and encourage reserve duty. Environmentalism will also rank high on the party's code, along with supporting young artists.

The new rightist party will fall apart if it fails to hold a primary election to choose its leader, MK Zvi Hendel told Haaretz yesterday. Hendel said that Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home), which was formed two weeks ago in a merger between NRP, Tekuma, Moledet and part of Achi, will fail over "certain parties who are denying the existence of an explicit agreement for holding a primary election to determine who will lead the party." If the party holds a primary, its top leadership candidates are thought to be Hendel and Yitzhak Levi - both of whom are demanding the move - as well as Zevulun Orlev and Nissan Slomiansky. Sources say a possible solution could be a fifth person approved by all potential candidates.

Former Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball star Tal Brody, 65, declared his candidacy for the Likud primary election at a press conference with party chairman Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv yesterday. Brody will become the fourth former U.S. resident to enter the race, joining Netanyahu's former chief of staff Yechiel Leiter, Government Press Office director Danny Seaman and Legal Forum for the Land of Israel co-chairman Yossi Fuchs. Meanwhile, comedian Sefi Rivlin also announced his entry into the primary fray, along with MK Ze'ev Elkin of Kadima. (Mazal Mualem)