Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is considering appointing a third woman to a realistic spot on the Likud candidates list, a source close to him said on Saturday night after only two female candidates received such placement in last week’s primary.
Knesset Interior Committee chairwoman Miri Regev is in the Likud’s fifth slot and MK Gila Gamliel is in the 14th.
The next woman on the list is Nava Boker at 25, followed by Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely at 26. The premier is likely to choose at least one woman in the Likud to be a minister.
Netanyahu has the right to appoint candidates of his choice to the 11th and 23rd places on the Likud list, and a source close to him said a woman “was always under consideration” for one of those slots.
Netanya Mayor Miriam Feirberg is thought to be a leading candidate and may even be offered a ministerial post.
The source said Netanyahu offered a spot to Miriam Peretz, who became a motivational speaker after her sons Uriel and Eliraz were killed in Lebanon and Gaza – in 1998 at age 22 and in Gaza in 2010 at age 31, respectively – but she turned him down.
Another source suggested that MK Orly Levy-Abecasis (Yisrael Beytenu) could be appointed to the Likud if her party continues to drop in the polls, as senior officials like deputy minister Faina Kirschenbaum (Yisrael Beytenu) are being investigated on suspicion of corruption.
Levy-Abecasis’s brother, former Beit She’an mayor Jackie Levy, has a realistic 18th spot on the list, which is reserved for candidates from the Galilee and the Jordan Valley.
Gamliel, who says Netanyahu promised her a ministerial position, hopes to be welfare minister.
Earlier on Saturday, opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Labor), who is running on a joint list with Tzipi Livni’s Hatnua, compared the low number of women in realistic spots in the Likud to the Saudi Arabian parliament.
“Netanyahu and Likud members spit in the face of half of the country’s population,” Herzog wrote on Facebook.
“They were so busy with their special-interest-driven ‘hit lists’ that they didn’t realize all the women were hit.
“A list in which there are fewer women than the number of women in the Saudi parliament is not worthy of leading the country. I am proud of the fact that the female representation in the list I lead will be large and central. This is a list that will show balanced and worthy leadership for the State of Israel,” he wrote.
In January 2013, Al-Arabiya reported that, in an historic decision, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia issued a decree allowing women to be members of the kingdom’s parliament.
The decree introduced a 20 percent quota for women in the 150-member body, and the king appointed 30 women to join the consultative assembly, according to the report.
While Labor’s list for the next Knesset will be formed only after a January 13 primary, only four of its 15 current MKs are female, bringing it to 26 percent, not much more than the Saudi Arabian parliament.
A Likud spokesman said “this election is not for the Saudi election, but for who will protect the security of our children facing the threats of Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic State.
“[The choice is between] Tzipi and Buji,” the spokesman continued, using the nickname Herzog has asked people to stop calling him, [who will] “give in to dictates and pressures and will create a terrorist state in the heart of Israel, or Benjamin Netanyahu who will stand decisively and firmly facing the threats and strengthen Israel as the leader of a broad Likud government and the head of a Likud list that is varied and includes serious, experienced and responsible male and female representatives from all parts of the nation.”
Regev said in response that the Likud’s list for the next Knesset is making Herzog nervous and that he is taking a “desperate step to taunt the public and move the spotlight to irrelevant places.”
Regev pointed out that she was chosen democratically, as opposed to Livni who was given the second spot on a joint list with Labor, adding a dig about her “jumping from party to party to save her seat in the Knesset.”
She added, “60,000 Likud members chose their representatives in a democratic process, according to their personalities and actions.
The ability to run a country depends on the quality of its representatives and Herzog understands that the Likud is representing an excellent, experienced team. I am at the top of the list, and yes, I am a woman with experience in security matters and public and social action,” Regev, a former IDF spokeswoman, added.
On Friday, Regev said she is very interested in being the next construction minister.
She told Israel Radio that she would fight for affordable housing for Israel’s young couples, “a day after Netanyahu is elected prime minister.”
However, placement on the Likud list will not affect ministerial appointments, sources close to Netanyahu said last week.
Likud sources also said the prime minister is disappointed that she has risen in the party’s ranks while Hotovely has fallen, as the latter was more loyal to and cooperative with him.
In a Channel 2 interview ahead of the Likud primary, Regev said she would “stage a coup” if Netanyahu does not make her a minister. The next day, she said she was misunderstood and that her comment was a joke. Despite this, Regev said on Friday that she and Netanyahu worked well together over the past two years and would continue to do so in the future.
Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.