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Kleiner, a lawmaker for the best part of two decades from 1982, was newly selected as court president in the recent elections. He adjudicates on violations of party process, and therefore, if Netanyahu pushed forward on a peace deal without going to the central committee, he would rule on whether this is acceptable — or assemble and determine the membership of a panel of five Likud judges.
Kleiner is secular, but in his office hangs a large portrait of the late Lubavitcher rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson. Nearby, there is a bumper sticker with a saying attributed to the rebbe: “The passing of territories — danger to Jews.” On another wall there is a picture of Jerusalem with the Golden Dome erased and the Third Temple rebuilt where it stands.
During an interview, he said that he has “limited” his freedom to promote his own political opinions in order to take up his new post as party justice, and that he refuses to pre-empt and pass judgment on the question of the central committee’s role in a draft peace agreement, as it is a possible future case. However, he pointed out that the Israel-Egypt peace treaty of 1978 was approved before the central committee. He knows this because he was actively opposing it at the time. And he made it clear that his desire to preside over the party court stems from his belief that Likud is a “tool” for a “strong Israel.”
Kleiner strongly opposes a Palestinian state, believing that the “arguments against the two-state solution are much stronger than the arguments against the one-state solution” and that while Israel faces a demographic threat, “it’s better to have a million Arabs in our pocket than a million Arabs behind our back”. Still, he sees less of a prospect than Danon that it will become a real possibility.
Unlike Danon, who thinks that Netanyahu is serious about wanting a two-state solution, Kleiner suggested that Netanyahu is just giving lip service to the prospect in order to please the international community. “A very smart man in the Likud said once that he prefers a prime minister who commits himself to the two-state solution but doesn’t actually really believe in it to a prime minister who also believes in it, deeply believes in the two-state solution,” he commented. “I don’t believe that Mr. Netanyahu deeply believes in the two-state solution, but sometimes if you are prime minister, you have to take steps, you have to work within an environment of pressures.”
Contact Nathan Jeffay at firstname.lastname@example.org