Israel Election Updates / Hadash Votes in Favor of Joint Arab Elections Ticket

72 days to go: MK Tibi waves Palestinian flag in Al-Aqsa compound; MK Shaffir challenges Bennett on West Bank fund transfers; MK Gila Gamliel eyed for social welfare post.

Gil Eliyahu

Friday's political summary: Yisrael Beiteinu Knesset member and Deputy Interior Minister Faina Kirshenbaum asked party chairman Avigdor Lieberman not to seek re-election in light of the police investigation into her alleged role in the party's graft scandal. Kirshenbaum and Lieberman's offices said that the foreign minister asked her to reconsider, and that she has agreed.

Latest updates:

11:37 P.M. MK Hotovely: I failed in Likud primary because of my pregnancy

Likud MK and deputy science and transportation minister Tzipi Hotovely said her failure to get placed high enough on the party ticket to have a reasonable chance of securing a Knesset seat in the coming elections was due to her pregnancy and maternity leave, which prevented her from campaigning properly and getting Likud voters support.

Hotovely estimated that her poor placement on the party list, the 26th place, was not due to a "political assassination." "I personally think it's the price I'm paying for the good changes in my life. I'm not a person who works through deals. I don't engage in vote-trading."(Jonathan Lis)

11:30 P.M. Likud: Official primary results not yet released

Likud party states that primary election results released on Thursday are not the official results. Statement adds that official results will be released after all the ballot boxes are examined on Sunday. (Jonathan Lis)

10:50 P.M. Hadash votes in favor of joint Arab elections ticket

Members of the board of Hadash, the Jewish-Arab communist party, voted overwhelmingly in favor of continuing negotiations aimed at setting up a joint election ticket for Israel's Arab parties on Saturday.

The vote took place after a heated 5-hour long debate. (Jack Khouri)

10:15 P.M. MK Tibi waves Palestinian flag in Al-Aqsa compound

MK Ahmed Tibi, of the United Arab List-Ta’al party, waved a Palestinian flag in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City, which he entered after participating in a ceremony commemorating the birth of Prophet Mohammed known in Arabic as "al-Mawlid al-Nabawi" on Saturday.

The ceremony was approved by police, but Tibi's visit to the compound itself was not, police said. A police spokesman "any actions that could disrupt the balance and the order at the Temple Mount" were taken seriously. The police, he added, intend to ask Knesset Speaker MK Yuli Edelstein to ask MKs to refrain from visiting the compound without first submitting a request to police. (Haaretz)

9:15 P.M. Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelah: We won't form a coalition with Netanyahu, hard right and the ultra-Orthodox (Yarden Skop)

8:00 P.M. Livni, Herzog slam Netanyahu on PA tax freeze

Labor-Hatnuah slammed the government's decision to freeze the transfer of half a billion shekels (more than $127 million) in tax revenues collected on behalf of the Palestinians following the Palestinians' recent attempts to join the International Criminal Court.

"Netanyahu has no solutions to Israel's declining situation in the world. Weak before Abbas in the international arena, he is taking steps that on their own will not help IDF soldiers in The Hague," a statement on behalf of Labor head Isaac Herzog and Hatnuah head Tzipi Livni read. "We all remember how Netanyahu missed an opportunity to bring about the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip when he chose to speak with Hamas instead of enlisting the world to Israel's side and advancing long-term solutions." (Jonathan Lis)

7:20 P.M. MK Gila Gamliel likely to be appointed interim social welfare minister

Netanyahu's decision to bypass his opponent MK Miri Regev, Likud's new high-ranked woman, and choose Gamliel - who landed Likud's 13th slot - is seen as a clear signal by Netanyahu to his party.

6:25 P.M Hadash party meets to discuss joining Arab list

Former Knesset Speaker Avraham Burg and prof. Avishai Ehrlich are attending a meeting of Hadash, the Jewish-Arab communist party, as members of its board.

One of the topics to be discussed in the party meeting taking place in Nazareth is the proposal to set up a joint list with the Knesset's Arab factions.

Meanwhile, the status of party leader MK Mohammad Barakeh remains unclear: Barakeh recently announced his decision to quit politics, but voices in the party are calling on him to lead the proposed joint Arab ticket. (Jack Khouri)

4:20 P.M. MK Shaffir challenges Bennett on W. Bank fund transfers

Labor MK Stav Shaffir said she estimates the corruption investigation involving members of Yisrael Beitienu party and various regional administrative figures will soon expand to other coalition parties.

"It is high time [Habayit Hayehudi head Naftali] Bennett respond to the events, and explain the justification under which tens of millions of shekels were passed to Habayit Hayehudi NGOs," said Shaffir, speaking at a cultural event on Saturday. (Haaretz)

2:22 P.M. MK Cabel: Poverty data shows Netanyahu has to go

Labor MK Eitan Cabel says that socioeconomic issues will determine the results of the upcoming election.

"A government whose legacy is 2.5 million poor people, 750,000 [Israelis] making minimum wage and tens of thousands of hungry children doesn't have the right to exist," Cabel said at a forum in Kiryat Bialik. "This is Netanyahu's third term as prime minister, and he has to go based on this data alone."

Cabel said Labor will run on a security-diplomatic platform as well as a socioeconomic one, "while Netanyahu will turn the dialogue into a fear campaign about the Iranian issue in order to escape his failure to reduce the cost of living, deal with poverty and fight terrorism."  

11:20 A.M. Lieberman: Police employ threats, intimidation against Yisrael Beiteinu

Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman accuses the police of using threats and intimidation against members and activists as part of a graft probe. One of the individuals under investigation has tried to commit suicide, he said.

Lieberman, who gave a talk in Kfar Saba, said the investigation is an attempt by Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to hurt Yisrael Beiteinu politically.

"They are trying to trample the party's dignity for the sixth time," he said, referring to previous probes.