Wednesday's political summary: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that if he is reelected on March 17, he will not evacuate any settlements during his term. He said that while he was open to Palestinian statehood, the Palestinians have emptied the possibility "of any relevance." Full story
Yesh Atid has overcome its weak start in the election campaign and is now polling 12 Knesset seats, while Moshe Kahlon’s new Kulanu party is showing signs of stalling, according to an Haaretz opinion poll. Full story
8:35 P.M. Former IDF general Galant announces joining forces with Kahlon (Haaretz)
8:30 P.M. Several politicians from the left condemned Wednesday's video clip revealing the position of several Habayit Yehudi candidates on same-sex marriages. Full story
7:50 P.M. Yesh Atid announced they will be holding a Super Bowl Sunday party, open to the public - pending an R.S.V.P., of course, with party leader Yair Lapid in attendance. (Haaretz)
4:20 P.M. Hatnuah leader MK Tzipi Livni on the Paris shooting: "We [Israelis] feel the same anger when terror hits us - and that is why we will not accept any attempt to sue our soldiers in The Hague." (Haaretz)
12:00 P.M. Lieberman: Islamic Movement's northern branch should be outlawed
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman says the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel is linked to terror groups and should be outlawed in the aftermath of a shooting that left 12 dead in the office of a satirical newspaper in Paris.
"If there's one important lesson we have learned from yesterday's terror attack in Paris is that extremist groups must be dealt with preemptively," Lieberman said in a Facebook post. "Anyone who shows tolerance toward such movements and organizations eventually pays with the blood of innocents, and with a threat on the very democracy that allowed [these groups] to act."
Lieberman said that the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, led by Sheik Ra’ad Salah, is "an inseparable link in the chain that includes the terror groups Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, Al-Qaida and ISIS." (Haaretz)
10: 20 A.M. Moshe Kahlon is expected to announce that Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yoav Galant is joining the Kulanu party. The two are set to hold a joint press conference at 8 P.M. (Ilan Lior)
9:10 A.M. Labor to choose military man for slate after primary
The Labor Party will decide whom to place in the No. 11 spot on the slate reserved for a security-oriented candidate only after the party primary next week. Labor chairman Isaac Herzog has yet to decide whether to reserve the spot for Kadima chairman and former defense minister Shaul Mofaz, or former Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin.
The Labor Party is trying to determine whether Mofaz would help the joint Labor-Hatnuah list gain more seats.
The party is continuing to deliberate the name of the joint list. To date it has been calling itself Zionist Camp, but the name has been sharply criticized by peace groups that say it excludes Israeli Arabs, who are not Zionists and would have difficulty supporting the list. Herzog’s staff, in fact, sent a message to media outlets Wednesday asking that official statements issued by the joint list be attributed to “Labor-Hatnuah headquarters.”
Channel 10 on Tuesday reported on Labor Party ads directed at the Arab sector that ostensibly omitted the name Zionist Camp, referring instead to “Labor Party for Peace and Equality.” The party said Wednesday that that version of the ad had appeared before the merger with Hatnuah and the decision on Zionist Camp was a temporary name.
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