In February 2015, at the height of the most recent election campaign, the Likud leadership expelled Eli Moyal, former mayor of the southern development town of Sderot, from the party. This unusual move against the veteran Likud member, ordered by associates of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, followed reports that Moyal had met with Zionist Camp co-chairs Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni. That Moyal had been giving a lot of interviews at the time attacking Netanyahu for his performance during the 2014 Gaza war was also a factor. The ensuing media storm embarrassed Netanyahu and the Likud, and Moyal was reinstated. This seemingly trivial story, which has virtually been forgotten, along with another story from recent days prove the extent to which the Likud, Israel’s mainstream right-wing party, has cut itself off from its basic liberal values and the extent to which the senses of its leaders have been dulled.
The week of Aug. 3 was a stormy one, with terror attacks carried out by Palestinians and Jews. In the ensuing flood of hateful words, President Reuven Rivlin, flesh and blood of the Likud movement, became a central target of incitement. The trigger was his emotional, empathetic and heartfelt reaction to the burning death of a Palestinian toddler in the village of Douma in an attack allegedly committed by members of the extreme right.