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Netanyahu increasingly exposed to political extortion

The precedents of Ministers Gilad Erdan and Zeev Elkin receiving the portfolios they were after encourage Likud central committee members, who seek to weaken Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's hold on the party.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem May 26, 2015. Netanyahu has proposed resuming peace negotiations with the Palestinians but with the initial focus on identifying those Jewish settlements that Israel would keep and be allowed to expand, an Israeli official said on Tuesday. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun  - RTX1EKJI
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With every passing day since Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s impressive election victory on March 17, the extent of the blackmail attempts from within his own party, of all places, appears to grow. Just this week, Netanyahu managed to resolve the Gilad Erdan crisis (related to the ministerial portfolio allocated to Erdan) by appointing him to the government on May 25, all the while being blackmailed by Minister of Immigrant Absorption Zeev Elkin and having to hand him the Jerusalem Affairs portfolio. And now another storm is brewing on the home front. That’s the way things are with a government of 61 Knesset seats (out of 120) and zero room for maneuver, under daily threat by each and every coalition member.

At stake now is an initiative to hand back to members of the Likud central committee the power to pick the party’s Knesset members. The committee is scheduled to convene in about two weeks to discuss and vote in a secret ballot on a proposal spearheaded by Knesset member David Amsalem — a proposal that for Netanyahu is nothing short of a nightmare. Netanyahu believes the Likud central committee is a form of electoral terror, and in light of his intention to compete once again in the next party elections over the head of the Likud position, he has started shoring up his defenses in recent days.

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