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The Central Committee of Israeli Prime Minister’s Likud party has approved the deal with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beitenu under which they would run together on a joint list in the January parliamentary elections.
The move was passed by a large majority Monday evening at the Likud Convention.
“I came here today to ask you to vote for a strong Likud, a strong Prime Minister, a strong government and a strong Israel,” Netanyahu said.
“The union will allow us to continue leading with strength and] keep our party national and liberal – for Ashkenazim and Sephardim; traditional, religious and secular; new immigrants and old; minorities and majority; because Likud is everyone’s home, » he said.
Netanyahu referred to rumors that Foreign Minister Lieberman would succeed him, saying, “I heard talk of inheritances in recent days.”
“I have news for everyone: I plan to lead Israel for many more years, as will Likud,” he added.
Netanyahu also also promised to work to protect Israel’s security and economy, as well as to lower the cost of living and housing.
Following the vote, Liberman said the joint list is a “historic step that will strengthen the State of Israel and its experienced, united leadership.”
“The united ‘Likud Beytenu’ will allow a stable, strong government to be formed after the election that will be able to deal with the challenges Israel faces,” he added. “It will bring back governance and increase internal and external power.”
The alliance, announced last week, has been criticized by some members of the Likud, who worried that the partnership would wrench their party sharply toward the secular right, but “Bibi” Netanyahu was greeted with loud applause as he addressed the gathering.
Polls have shown the combined Likud and Yisrael Beitenu list, along with religious parties that traditionally align with Likud, could control a large majority in the 120-member parliament.
Likud has currently 27 seats in the 120-member Knesset, Israel’s parliament, and Yisrael Beitenu 15.