Likud MKs who signed a petition declaring their loyalty to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed on Monday that they were embarrassed by the petition and that they believed it harmed the party.
The MKs, who refused to be identified, said they had no choice but to sign the petition initiated by MK David Bitan, declaring that Netanyahu was the only Likud option for prime minister in September’s elections.
Netanyahu’s opponents in the race mocked the petition in different ways. The United Right had its MKs sign an oath of loyalty to principles the party believes in.
Democratic Union candidate Stav Shaffir released a video on social video, in which she showed Israelis being forced to pledge loyalty to Netanyahu when they arrive in the country, when they get married and in order to get their baby delivered.
Activists from Shaffir’s party placed 40 cardboard cutouts of the prime minister outside the Likud’s Tel Aviv headquarters early Monday morning, representing the 40 candidates who signed the petition.
“The Likud Party officially became Netanyahu’s puppet party yesterday,” Democratic Union leaders Nitzan Horowitz, Shaffir and Ehud Barak said in a joint statement on Monday. “The same puppets signed a document yesterday declaring that they had lost all ideology, independent thought – and in particular preferred their loyalty to Netanyahu over their loyalty to the State of Israel and its citizens.”
Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman also joined in on Monday morning, comparing Netanyahu’s ruling of Likud as being “North Korean.” He wrote on his official Facebook account, “Likud MKs’ disgraceful signing of a North Korean-style statement of loyalty indicates Netanyahu’s utter distrust of his party members. Yisrael Beytenu, in the upcoming elections, has one major goal – to establish a broad-based national-liberal government and to prevent the formation of a halachic government [ruled by Jewish law].”
Bitan responded that Liberman’s rule over his party was exactly like the dictators of North Korea, while Likud is democratic.
Culture and Sport Minister and Likud MK Miri Regev responded to Liberman in his native language on her Facebook page, writing, “Liberman might understand this better,” before writing “the public is not stupid” in Russian. She also accused the former defense minister of being a “leftist,” writing: “You acted twice to overthrow the right-wing government out of hatred for Netanyahu. The truth is revealed – you are a leftist.”

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