Likud court head says New Likudniks act “in an ugly way as a fifth column” and “told people they registered that they don’t have to vote Likud, and they can be leftists who work against the party.”
By GIL HOFFMAN
Boston native Aliza Landes joined Likud two years ago, paid her membership dues and supported and voted for the party.
But she received a letter on Sunday telling her that she was expelled from the party pending her attending a hearing within two weeks. The letter was dated December 11, two weeks and a day short of the December 26 Likud leadership race.
“I joined Likud because that is where my politics are and because being a member of a party is an important way to contribute to the state, but now I am persona non grata because I signed up through the New Likudniks,” Landes lamented. “I am feeling fundamentally disenfranchised now.”
Landes is one of an estimated 100 Likud members who could be expelled the day before they could get a chance to vote. There will be a hearing on Tuesday to hear their appeal as a bloc, which could render the individual hearings unnecessary.
When asked whether she supported Netanyahu or his challenger Gideon Sa’ar in the race, Landes said it did not matter.
“Asking me who I am going to vote for is ludicrous,” she said. “Things like this make me feel incredibly alienated.”
Landes intends to go to the hearing to challenge her expulsion. But she said many people either will not be able to get off work to come to a hearing or will not even receive the notice in the mail in time for the primary.
The head of the Likud’s internal court, former MK Michael Kleiner, said he will make sure there are special double envelopes available at polling stations in case there are people who come to vote and are told they cannot.
Kleiner said the Likud administration had initially decided to kick out all the new Likudniks but he decided the decision could not be made without a hearing. He said that the decision was made long before the primary and was justified because of the new Likudniks’ behavior.
“This group has acted in an ugly way as a fifth column within the party,” Kleiner said. “They told people they registered that they don’t have to vote Likud and they can be leftists who work against the party. Sharing a post that you cannot vote for Likud because it’s corrupt is definitely grounds for being kicked out.”
Kleiner promised that anyone who appeals their expulsion will be allowed to vote, even if they cannot attend a hearing.
“We are trying to handle this reasonably and make sense of the chaos,” he said.
But Nir Hershman, who is one of the heads of the New Likudniks, said Kleiner was not doing enough to fix the problem. Hershman said his group registered nearly 10,000 people and the fight against them has crossed redlines.
“They are trying to kick out whomever they can in order to influence the election,” Hershman said. “They even wrote people they were kicked out for sharing posts by the heads of our organization. They are monitoring people like the Stasi (East German secret police). The Likud needs to be purified.”