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Likud membership drive ends in apparent failure

CM 05/09/2021 2

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The Likud’s membership drive resulted in only 18,000 new members joining the party, increasing the membership rolls from more than 120,000 to close to 140,000.
There were expectations that tens of thousands of new members would join the party, as happened in past drives. A drive 20 years ago ahead of a Likud leadership race between Benjamin Netanyahu and Ariel Sharon resulted in the Likud rising to more than 300,000 members. The party hit a peak of 330,000 members in 1996.
Expectations were raised because a dozen future candidates for the Likud leadership were attempting to bring in as many new members as possible. Former Likud MK Moshe Feiglin, who is known for having loyal followers, returned to the party just in time for the drive.

The drive was also intended to help the Likud pay massive debts accrued during four Knesset elections over the past two-and-a-half years and the October 2018 municipal races and to enable the party to fund a campaign for the next Knesset race, whenever that will be. The monthly membership fee was NIS 64.
The Likud launched the drive in mid-July with great fanfare and a video of Netanyahu encouraging as many people as possible to join.

A LIKUD campaign poster with the slogan “Returning to life” is altered to add “with 1,000,000 unemployed,” in Tel Aviv on March 21, 2021 (credit: MIRIAM ALSTER/FLASH90)A LIKUD campaign poster with the slogan “Returning to life” is altered to add “with 1,000,000 unemployed,” in Tel Aviv on March 21, 2021 (credit: MIRIAM ALSTER/FLASH90)

But due to the modest results of the drive, the Likud did not issue a press release about its conclusion.
The future candidates each claimed they had brought a large number of new members.
MK Nir Barkat, who hired staff to work on the drive, claimed 4,500, a quarter of the drive.
Former Knesset speaker and minister Yuli Edelstein estimated that he brought between 1500 to 2500.
Feiglin said he brought “a modest amount.”
MK Israel Katz, who chairs the Likud’s governing secretariat that ran the drive, said most new members were brought by activists aiming to strengthen themselves within their party branches.
“I have wide support in every Likud branch,” Katz said. “Every membership drive makes me even stronger.”

Source: Jerusalem Post

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