Netanyahu wins primary, offers grants
JERUSALEMIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won the leadership race of his Likud Party over his ultranationalist rival early yesterday, hours after his government approved new incentives to entice people to move to West Bank settlements.
While Netanyahu was expected to win the leadership race decisively, a relatively strong showing by his ultranationalist rival, Moshe Feiglin suggested that many Likud voters consider the prime minister too soft on peacemaking with the Palestinians. Likud spokesman Yigal Movermacher said early yesterday that Netanyahu won over 75 percent of the vote. “I believe we will overcome great challenges together,” Netanyahu said in his victory speech, Associated Press reported. Upon taking office in 2009, Netanyahu reluctantly embraced the concept of an independent Palestinian state, antagonizing hard-line Likud loyalists who believe Israel should hold on to the West Bank for religious and security reasons. The new housing subsidies offered to West Bank settlers appeared to be aimed at appeasing those hard-liners.