Likud seniors lash out at Regev’s ‘ethnic demon’

Likud politician Miri Regev’s call for the party to be led by a ‘non-white’ Sephardi reflecting the rank-and-file has produced a predictable backlash from other senior Likud politicians. She is being accused of using ‘the ethnic demon’ to advance her own career. Op-ed in the Jerusalem  Post: 
Miri Regev
Regev came under harsh attack from her Likud colleagues, especially those who also see themselves as future leaders of Israel’s largest political party.
Yuli Edelstein, No 2 on the Likud list, said in an interview to Channel 20, “we don’t choose parties based on ethnicity, sector, religion, race or sex. I don’t think that the Likud will begin to check people’s identification cards. I don’t know why she said that.”
Nir Barkat, former mayor of Jerusalem who is pouring millions of shekels into his candidacy, said that Regev’s comments “are divisive and have no place in the movement. We are a movement of the people, and, thank God, we have everyone – secular, religious and traditional, Jewish and non-Jewish. We have the entire variety, and choose our leaders based on their vision and on the ideals they bring with them from home.”
Fellow Likud MK Galit Distal Atbaryan – of Mizrachi descent – struck a softer tone, saying that while she respected Regev and might even support her bid, she would not vote along ethnic lines.
While Regev has a point – many of Likud’s voters are of Sephardic descent but have traditionally voted for Ashkenazi leaders – her use of the ethnic genie was not because she is striving to achieve greater equality in Israel. It was politically motivated – she is looking to use ethnicity to advance her political career.

 

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