Likud Officially Cancels New Rules That Would Have Restricted Netanyahu

After Netanyahu threatens to fire the minister who heads the Likud secretariat, the body votes to abort proposed guidelines to curtail PM's administrative powers.

Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Yoav Davidovich

The Likud secretariat officially canceled Saturday a new set of party guidelines that would have curtailed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's ability to make party appointments.

The secretariat voted on Tuesday to take a number of managerial powers away from the party’s chairman, Netanyahu. However, by Wednesday morning, the measure was frozen after Netanyahu reportedly threatened to fire the secretariat's chairman and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz from his cabinet.

The measures were finally aborted in a vote called for by Katz on Saturday. 

According to Likud’s bylaws, the secretariat, which compromises 99 Knesset members and central committee members, is responsible for managing the party’s institutions. Over the past year, Katz has tried to inject real content into this responsibility, resulting in clashes with Netanyahu, who has long controlled the party in his role as chairman.

The aborted new guidelines would have effectively prevented Netanyahu from continuing to appoint his cronies without the secretariat’s consent. The secretariat was even given the ability to impose financial sanctions on any such appointee. In addition, the tenure of senior party functionaries like the director general and department heads would have been limited to a maximum of eight years. Moreover, any new hires or contracts with outside service providers will have to be approved in advance by the secretariat.

Finally, the secretariat decided to hire its own legal adviser, Ilan Bombach, who will work independently of the party’s legal adviser. The latter functionary, attorney Avi Halevy, is considered close to Netanyahu.