Israel Election Updates / Feiglin to Quit Likud, Start New Party

70 days to go: Yair Lapid considering adding gay candidate; Kahlon names first woman to Kulanu list; Likud releases updated primary results after recount.

Ofer Vaknin

Sunday's political summary: Several voting stations recounted the ballots from the Likud primary that took place last week, following complaints of discrepancies in the tallies and in the management of the polls. One party member said there is serious concern that the discrepancies are not accidental, but rather an attempt to affect the results.

Click here for Sunday's updates

Latest updates:

8:21 P.M. Far-rightist MK Feiglin to quit Likud

MK Moshe Feiglin announces he intends to leave Likud and says he plans on starting a new party. The far-rightist was ousted from the party list in its primary elections earlier this week. In December, he dropped his bid for party leadership, after it was decided that elections for the party's Knesset list and its new chairperson would be conducted simultaneously.

5:31 P.M. Hotovely claims missing primary votes could push her up Likud list

Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely claims to have located an uncounted ballot in last week's primary vote that could push her up to the 20th slot in Likud's slate. Likud officials reject her claim, saying the ballot box had been counted.

After a recount of the Likud primary votes on Sunday shifted the standing of some contenders, Avi Dichter pushed Hotovely out of the 20th spot. Hotovely is currently ranked 26th on the list, 55 votes short of passing Dichter. Since the latest polls show Likud winning around 22 to 24 Knesset seats, that might well mean the difference between entering the next Knesset or not.

5:17 P.M. Khalon adds first woman to Kulanu list

Moshe Kahlon adds former Kiryat Shmona deputy mayor Yifat Sassa-Biton to his list, Kulanu. Sassa-Biton is the first female candidate on Kahlon's list. Born and raised in Kiryat Shmona, she is currently the vice president of the Ohalo College in Katzrin. Sassa-Biton has been on Kiryat Shmona's city council for the past six years, in charge of the youth and education portfolio for five of those years. "Yifat is a symbol of perseverance, decisiveness and success," said Kahlon.

5 P.M. Yair Lapid considering adding gay candidate

Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid is considering adding a representative of the gay community to its slate. MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz), the only openly gay lawmaker in the Knesset, announced last Wednesday that he would not be running in the upcoming election.

9:26 A.M. Likud releases updated primary results after recount

A recount of the Likud primary results on Sunday shifted the standing of some of the contenders, with Avi Dichter pushing Tzipi Hotovely out of the 20th spot. Full story

8:19 A.M. Israelis’ confidence dips for politicians

Israelis showed increased confidence in the performance of the various public institutions last year, but not Knesset members or the cabinet, according to the latest Public Sector Performance Index. Full story

7:20 A.M. Talks on united Arab bloc to shift into high gear

Talks on creating a united Arab Knesset slate will enter high gear over the next few days in an effort to reach agreements by mid-month, after the Arab parties hold their primaries. But even if they succeed in doing so, whether the joint ticket will manage to bring Arab voters out en masse will depend greatly on the candidates chosen for this ticket. Full story