Israel Election Updates / MK Danon: Voting for Lieberman or Kahlon Will Strengthen Left

79 days to go: Lapid says won't divide Jerusalem, no matter what; Meretz to begin party slate selection process on Sunday; Lieberman on graft scandal: My party is being smeared.

Ofer Vaknin

Haaretz's latest political analyses and opinions: Corruption scandal in Lieberman's party could redraw political map (Yossi Verter) | Israel's politicians must be clear and truthful about their policies (Carolina Landsmann | Israel's March 17 elections will be historic (as usual) (Chemi Shalev)

Reuters

8:50 P.M. Meretz to begin party slate selection process on Sunday

Over 16,000 Meretz party members across Israel will vote on Sunday to choose 1,000 members for the party’s central committee, which will then decide on January 19 the party slate for the upcoming Israeli elections. The committee is expected to reappoint Zahava Gal-On as party leader next Sunday. 

According to the latest opinion polls, Meretz is expected to net five to eight Knesset seats. (Ilan Lior)

8:15 P.M. MK Danon: Voting for Lieberman or Kahlon means transferring votes from right to left

MK Danny Danon, who is running against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the Likud leadership this week, called on the leaders of Israel’s right-wing parties to declare in advance whether they intend to support Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister.

Danon said at a Saturday cultural event in Holon: "I demand that Lieberman, Kahlon and [Shas leader Arieh] Deri, most of whose voters come from the national camp, to be brave and to make known whether they will support a right-wing or left-wing government.” He added that right-leaning voters will feel “deceived” if they vote for the above-mentioned leaders, only for them to join a government led by the center-left ticket of Herzog-Livni. (Jonathan Lis)

6:33 P.M. Lapid says won't divide Jerusalem, no matter what

Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid stated on Saturday that his party would never accept any division of Jerusalem - even that meant failure to reach an agreement with the Palestinians.

"We will not divide Jerusalem, no matter what happens," said the former Treasury Minister, speaking at a public cultural event in Holon. An agreement with the Palestinians "can be reached without dividing Jerusalem," he said.

"Nations do not conduct negotiations over their capital cities, and if that's why attempts to reach an agreement fail – let them fail."

The centrist leader attacked Israel's left for "announcing its concessions ahead of time," and its right for "not truly wanting an agreement with the Palestinians."

"We need to separate ourselves from the Palestinians, and not forget that their heroes are people are going around in black masks, like Islamic State militants, cutting off heads," Lapid said. "The Palestinians will never agree to a deal only with them, because they are afraid of the world's Muslim extremists - and that is why we need to go to the Arab League nations, and through them start regional negotiations." (Yarden Skop, Jonathan Lis) Read the full story

December 26

5:51 P.M. Labor leader Isaac Herzog: "I really hope we're not facing a dangerous wave of terror. When it comes to Israel's security and the war on terror, there's no coalition or opposition." (Jonathan Lis)

4:17 P.M. Lieberman on graft scandal: Yisrael Beiteinu is being smeared

Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman on Friday lashed out at police in a post on his Facebook page that addressed the corruption scandal embroiling senior members of his party.

"Time after time, without exception, in each election cycle, 'anonymous forces' intervene and undermine Yisrael Beiteinu's right to a fair competition," Lieberman wrote. "When it comes to Yisrael Beiteinu, there are no elections without investigations." (Barak Ravid) Read the full story

01:40 A.M. Kirshenbaum aide arrested, cops say Misezhnikov tried to flee

An aide to Deputy Interior Minister Faina Kirshenbaum, the key suspect in the burgeoning Yisrael Beiteinu corruption scandal, was arrested yesterday on suspicion of taking bribes and disrupting the investigation. The aide, Victoria Rabin, is suspected of destroying documents a few days before the investigation became public.

It was revealed on Thursday that former Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov, who was also arrested on Wednesday morning, attempted to leave Israel earlier in the week, but was prevented from doing so by the Israel Police. (Yaniv Kubovich, Barak Ravid) Read the full story