Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has so far raised nearly 539,000 shekels ($137,000) in his bid to retain his position at the head of Likud. The sum came from 15 donors, all of whom are from overseas. Fourteen are from the United States, while one is from Spain.
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At this point, Netanyahu’s only challenger is Danny Danon, who has raised a total of 261,000 shekels from 11 donors – 10 of whom reside in the United States.
Before dropping out of the leadership race, Moshe Feiglin had raised 220,000 shekels from 217 donations.
The Likud primary will be held on December 31, with the winner leading the party into the Knesset election, which will be held on March 17.
Regulations allow candidates to raise up to 2.1 million shekels, but individual donor contributions cannot exceed 45,880 shekels.
Among the U.S. donors to Netanyahu’s campaign is Kenneth Abramowitz, who heads the American Friends of Likud and contributed about 40,000 shekels. The donors also included four members of the Miami-based Falic family, which owns the largest duty-free retail firm in the United States. The four each gave the maximum permitted.
Candidates running for a spot on the Likud Knesset slate, elections for which will also be held on December 31, are entitled to raise individual contributions of up to 11,500 shekels. The cumulative fundraising cap for those candidates is roughly 500,000 shekels.
The chairman of the Likud Knesset faction, Zeev Elkin, has recently raised 290,000 shekels in that race. His 33 donors include contributors from the United States, Russia, Switzerland and Britain. One of them is former Maariv newspaper owner and Russian media tycoon Vladimir Gusinsky, who gave Elkin 11,000 shekels. He recently gave a similar sum to another Likud MK, Silvan Shalom.