In Brief: Likud party “approaching bankruptcy” as it fires staff and sells assets

Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party is “approaching bankruptcy”, a former official has told the Jerusalem Post. The party is believed to be firing staff, facing huge debts to the banks and suppliers, and considering selling assets. The Likud, which has led Israel’s government since 2009, is believed to have been hit hard financially by the country’s run of elections. Voters have gone to the polls an unprecedented three times in just over a year thanks to a political deadlock which began in December 2018 and only ended with the formation of a “unity government” between the Likud and its centrist competitor, Blue and White, in May. In addition to the three general elections, the Likud has also had to fork out for municipal elections, as well as an internal party primary which saw Netanyahu re-elected as leader last December. Current and former party officials told the Post that the Likud would struggle to fight another election in the autumn, the prospects of which have risen as a vital budget deadline approaches this month (see Analysis).

“The situation is awful,” one party official said, while a former party official in contact with current employees said the Likud was “approaching bankruptcy”. The officials said staff were being sacked, while others were urgently seeking new jobs. The party also owns 15 buildings around Israel – including its historic Tel Aviv headquarters – which are thought at risk from a sell-off of assets. The Likud denied the report, while acknowledging the party faced a squeeze. A spokesperson said: “There is no impending catastrophe or bankruptcy, but there are pressures.” Natan Engelsman, a member of the Likud’s governing secretariat, said it had not been briefed. “There is no transparency nowadays or the institutions there once were before we became a party of only the leader.” Read full article