Latest political summary: Israel's political parties submitted their Knesset slates to the Central Election Commission on Thursday. The parties can no longer make any changes to their lists or merge with other parties ahead of the March 17 election. The commission now has two weeks to examine the lists and disqualify candidates. Read full story here
5:00 P.M. Netanyahu lashes out at media over wife's bottle recycling scandal
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed the brouhaha over the revelation that his wife Sara forced staffers in their official residence to hand over bottle deposit money worth thousands of shekels.
"It's an old, overblown, recycled story," the prime minister said in a Facebook post in response to the story broken by Haaretz this week. "How did a marginal event from years ago turn into huge, negative headlines precisely on election eve? The answer is simple. There are powerful forces in the Israeli press that believe in recycling, not bottles but rather an illegitimate way of biting back at me through trendy and twisted mudslinging against my wife with the goal of upending the Likud under my leadership from power." (Haaretz)
2:43 P.M. Kulanu's Michael Oren criticizes West Bank construction tenders
Michael Oren, the former Israeli ambassador to the United States, said on Friday that he opposed the tenders. He said in light of events this week, a more Zionist answer would be to build in the Golan Heights and in northern Israel, not in Kiryat Arba.
Oren, a candidate on Moshe Kahlon's Kulanu list, noted that the latest tenders for building in the territories are not constructive for Israel's relations with the United States and do not enhance Israel's ability to defend itself and amass international support. Read full article here
12:45 P.M. Meretz chairwoman Zahava Gal-On blasts West Bank construction tenders
Zahava Gal-On, chairwoman of the left-wing Meretz party, blasted the timing of the announced 450 construction tenders for West Bank settlements.
"Continued building in the settlements is taking advantage of the election season and is sabotaging any chance of a diplomatic settlement," she said Friday. "The extremist Bibi-Bennett government knows that the American government and the European Union view settlement building as contrary to international law, yet it continues to create facts on the ground in contrast to Israel's existential interest." (Barak Ravid) Read full article here
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