When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu surprisingly announced with great fanfare that Bennie Begin would be returning to politics on the Likud list at a January 29 meeting of the party secretariat, everyone in the room applauded.
Until then, Netanyahu had taken a long time finding a candidate worthy of the 11th slot on the Likud list, which was reserved for a candidate of his choosing. He considered everyone from Netanya Mayor Miriam Feirberg to a Russian-immigrant actor, to Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick.
Within minutes of the announcement, all of the Likud’s ministers and MKs sent messages to political reporters praising the decision. The politicians competed with superlatives for Begin, the son of the former prime minister and longtime party leader Menachem Begin.