Election Roundup Wednesday 24 December

A few big political developments today:

  1. Benjamin Netanyahu has been disqualified from the Likud leadership campaign – maybe. The party comptroller accused him of using party funds in his leadership campaign and demanded an apology or he’d face disqualification. Mr Netanyahu responded that the comptroller had no authority to disqualify him. So today, the comptroller disqualified him.Despite this, it’s almost certain that Netanyahu will find a way to remain on the Likud leadership ballot, whether it’s by appealing the decision to the internal Likud court, and eventually to the District Court, or by apologising to the Comptroller. Of course, if he apologises then perhaps he’d be attacked by Mr Never-Apologise, Naftali Bennett! It’s also worth noting that we’re past the deadline to register new parties. Anyway, watch this space while the mess is sorted out.
  2. Yisrael Beiteinu’s Faina Kirshenbaum is one 30 people were interviewed under police caution this morning in connection with a huge embezzlement case after a year-long police investigation. The case reportedly involves getting millions of shekels of public money, via NGOs, to fund nonexistent building projects. Also under investigation are a former minister and senior officials in Government and NGOs. Yisrael Beiteinu has condemned the arrests as being politically-motivated; the party (accurately) notes that there’s been some big investigation of Yisrael Beiteinu MKs announced before every election since 1999 and that they usually come to nothing. More details will emerge in the coming days.
  3. Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu party will hold a press conference at 16:30 today to announce something. Everyone says that the ‘something’ is that Michael Oren, historian and former Ambassador to the USA, will be running on his list. Oren’s been rumoured to be running with Kahlon for more than a year, so this announcement will surprise nobody. In fact I wonder why it’s taken so long to seal the deal. Also, the official English spelling of the party is “Koolunu” but that sounds like it’s a Pokémon.
  4. We’re getting to the point where there are enough polls to start talking meaningfully about them, so expect some more psephological posts from me in the future, either here or on my other blog.