Netanyahu 'Repelled' by Style of Likud's New Top-ranked Woman

Miri Regev, who ranks fifth on the party's slate, is less likely to be appointed to the cabinet than Gila Gamliel, who is 13th.

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev.
Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev.Credit: Tess Scheflan
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

Just two women, MK Miri Regev and MK Gila Gamliel, managed to get into spots high enough on Likud’s slate to be assured a Knesset seat after the next election. Regev registered an impressive accomplishment by being chosen for the fifth spot on the list in Wednesday’s primary elections, passing key party figures such as Silvan Shalom, Moshe Ya’alon and Zeev Elkin.

Gamliel was chosen for the 13th slot, but could turn into the big winner in the election: If another woman is not dropped onto the 11th spot on the list, which is reserved for an appointment of Netanyahu’s choosing, Gamliel will be a leading candidate for a ministerial post.

The prime minister is disdainful toward Regev, and according to assessments he will do everything he can to avoid appointing her as a government minister. This week, he said that he saw no connection between the placement of Knesset members on the party list and their placement in the line for a position around the cabinet table.

“Netanyahu has every reason to decide that Regev is unworthy of his government,” a high-ranking official close to the prime minister said Thursday. “She is considered close to Netanyahu’s rival, Gideon Sa’ar, and intended to support his candidacy for the party leadership. She criticized Netanyahu publicly time and again, claiming that Likud during his time had ceased to be a social-justice party, and expressed sweeping opposition for his initiative to impose value-added tax on fruits and vegetables.

“The prime minister is repelled by Regev’s style, her harshness and the image she is creating for the party,” the official continued. “She also got strong support from Yedioth Ahronoth, one of the prime minister’s great adversaries. Why should he appoint her a minister in his government?”

Social Equality Minister Gila GamlielCredit: Shiran Granot

When Regev was asked this week about the possibility that Netanyahu might appoint her a minister, she said that in such a case, she would instigate a “revolution.” Gamliel, on the other hand, secured an explicit promise from Netanyahu that he would appoint her a minister in the present Knesset – a promise that went unfulfilled.

The accomplishment by Regev and Gamliel in the primary election is extraordinary. Likud took pains to reserve one seat for a woman on its list, the 15th, and both Regev and Gamliel placed above it.

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