All of the complaints about the merger of the Israeli far-right remain true, that it does not help either party’s polls, that it has alienated the “moderate Likud voter,” etc. But at the end of the day, Likud’s Central Committee overwhelmingly endorsed the merger anyhow.
Even while a small group led by Minister Michael Eitan condemn the merger as a strategic disaster for Likud, it doesn’t seem he was able to muster enough support even for a secret ballot on the matter, despite early reports that it would happen.
The sentiment appears to be that one cannot unring a bell, and some are saying the damage done to any moderate pretext was irreversible whether the merger went through or not, Early polls suggest that Likud-Beiteinu’s merger will have only a small negative impact on their seats, though it may make forming a government a huge uphill battle.
During the meeting Netanyahu tried to placate fears that it made Avigdor Lieberman the heir apparent to the bloc, insisting that he intends to rule Israel for “many more years.” Whether he can convince Israeli voters of that remains to be seen.