Text size

MK Moshe Feiglin and his supporters had harsh words yesterday for the support expressed hours earlier by Yesha Council Chairman Bentzi Lieberman of MK Benjamin Netanyahu in tomorrow's Likud primary. Lieberman called on party members not to vote for Feiglin or for Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom in the ballot for party chairman.

"Only Netanyahu has a realistic chance of heading a strong national camp and facing up to the serious dangers posed by [Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon and the left," Lieberman said, warning that choosing Feiglin as party chairman "would significantly reduce the Likud's political power."

Lieberman said he sees a serious moral failure in the attempt to take over the Likud and turn it into a clone of the National Union party, as well as in the "hostile takeover from the left of Omri [Sharon's] people, who are helping Silvan's camp in order to turn the Likud into a satellite of Kadima."

Settler leader Pinhas Wallerstein made similar statements in support of Netanyahu over the weekend. Lieberman's and Wallerstein's statements were personal and did not reflect the Yesha Council's official position.

In a reference to the Gaza disengagement, Feiglin said, "We saw just months ago how Lieberman, Wallerstein and their friends in the Yesha Council are so wonderfully able to defend the settlements. Bentzi Lieberman and Bibi's [Netanyahu's] colleagues, who have embraced Arafat and without whom there could not have been a disengagement, are like an abused woman who covers the bruises on her face with makeup and keeps returning to her husband. Thanks to the Yesha Council, Bibi now knows that he is comfortably able to carry out the next deportation. The settlers will always forgive him."

"Many Gush Katif deportees who are Likud members - about 200 of them - have joined the effort to help Feiglin win the primary," former Gush Katif spokesman Eran Sternberg said. He said that Feiglin was the only candidate who had proved his ideological spine over time, and the only one who was trustworthy.

"Voting for Netanyahu, who assisted in the uprooting [of settlements] and who said repeatedly that he was `committed to implementing the withdrawal' will accelerate the destruction of the national camp because the difference between the signer of the Wye River Accord [Netanyahu] and Silvan Shalom is merely optical."