Israel Election Updates / Likud: Livni Wrong on Congress' Iran Sanctions

48 days to go: Livni: Netanyahu's Congress speech on Iran has already backfired; Mofaz announced last week that he would not serve on the Labor-Hatnuah joint ticket.


Latest political summary: The candidacy of Tzaga Malko, a prominent Ethiopian activist and number three on Moshe Kahlon's Kulanu list, was rejected by the Central Election Committee.

Hadash and Arab parties apparently agreed on name for joint ticket: Wamab, which means spark in Arabic. The parties will announce their final decision today. Read full article here

Latest updates:

11:10 P.M. Likud: Livni wrong on U.S. Congress passing Iran sanctions

The Likud party released a statement today criticizing Hatnuah leader Tzipi Leader for ‘misleading’ the Israeli public on U.S. congressional support for passing additional sanctions against Iran. "Prime Minister Netanyahu is the only leader in the world openly leading the struggle against the signing of a dangerous deal that will turn Iran into a nuclear-threshold state,” Israel’s ruling party said. “Tzipi Livni is mistaken and misleading Israel’s citizens. Instead of supporting the prime minister in the big process of stopping a nuclear Iran, Tzipi is busy with personal insults and small politics. In complete contrast to what she says, the [U.S.Congress'] legislative initiative to apply additional sanctions on Iran has not been abandoned. Ten Democrat senators announced today that they will support passing more sanctions if Iran does not abide by the required clauses for a general agreement.” (Jonathan Lis)

10:32 P.M. Election committee asked to provide public transportation to unrecognized villages on Election Day

Arab news outlets report that Adala - The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, has turned to the Central Election Committee and asked for public transportation to be provided on Election Day to unrecognized villages in the southern Negev. Adala says there is no public transportation in these villages and some of the voters live between 10-40 kilometers from their polling stations. (Haaretz)

9:36 P.M. Court orders recount of Likud primary votes

The Supreme Court accepts MK Avi Dichter's appeal to recount the votes in the Likud primary elections in an attempt to determine who will occupy the 20th spot on the party's slate, Dichter or Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely. (Jonathan Lis)

8:40 P.M. Livni: Netanyahu's Congress speech on Iran has already backfired

Hatnuah leader MK Tzipi Livni accuses Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of harming Israel-U.S. relations as well as the chances of strengthening the sanction regime, after Democratic U.S. Senators, including Robert Menendez, said they would hold off on additional Iran sanctions by at least two months.

Livni said that Netanyahu's attempt to secure a speech before Congress "Netanyahu kicked [Israel's] relationship with the U.S. in times we need them to prevent the dragging of the IDF to the International Criminal Court at The Hague, and now it turns out that even the senior Democratic Senator Menendez, announced that he would hold off the vote on his bill until the end of March."

Livni said that instead of encouraging the U.S. to impose additional sanctions on Iran, Netanyahu's planned speech in Congress achieves the opposite effect. (Jonathan Lis)

4:39 P.M. Likud looking into offering 11th slot to Israeli beauty queen

Likud is looking into offering 11th slot to Linor Abargil, a former Israeli beauty queen and model who was crowned Miss World in 1998. Abargil, who was brutally raped by an Israeli travel agent in Milan six weeks before the international pageant, used her story to raise public awareness about sexual violence. (Haaretz)

4:30 P.M. MK Zvulin Kalfa announces retirement from Habait Hayehudi

MK Zvulin Kalfa said he will be retiring from Habait Hayehudi after it was made known on Monday that former soccer star Eli Ohana will run for Knesset on the party slate. It isn’t clear what spot Ohana will occupy, since Bennett has three more slots he can assign. (Haaretz)

4:17 P.M. IDF general joins Zionist Camp

Livni announces Maj. Gen. (res.) Eyal Ben-Reuven will be joining the joint Labor-Hatnuah Zionist Camp list.

2:45 P.M. Shaul Mofaz announces his retirement from politics

Former Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz announced his retirement from politics on Tuesday.

Mofaz announced last week that he would not serve on the Labor-Hatnuah joint ticket. He said he was “at peace with the decision,” which he made after prolonged talks, with many shifts of direction, in recent weeks.

Mofaz is a well-liked figure among the soft right-wing – a segment of voters whom Zionist Camp is targeting, although polls show they do not want Mofaz as defense minister. It seemed in recent days that Mofaz and Zionist Camp were close to an agreement, but both sides mutually decided against joining hands. (Jonathan Lis)