As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prepares for the end of his 12-year term in office, a senior member of Likud was planning to challenge him for the leadership of the Likud party, sources said.
According to the Likud sources, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein will join former Jerusalem mayor MK Nir Barkat in running for leadership when the party holds its next primary election.
The sources expressed the belief that Netanyahu would also face challenges from other senior Likud members should he become leader of the opposition during the term of the new government, which is scheduled to be sworn in on Sunday.
Barkat is planning to host a conference in Tel Aviv on Thursday, with the participation of thousands of Likud party members, where he intends to present his vision for Israel in the coming years.
Barkat said the conference was not political in nature but was nonetheless criticized by Finance Minister Israel Katz, who accused him of undermining Netanyahu.
Katz has said in the past that he would seek the leadership role after Netanyahu's departure from politics.
Edelstein declined to comment on the claims, and close associates said he would speak publicly when he had something new to say.
Meanwhile, Netanyahu continued his efforts to foil the establishment of the new government set to be sworn in next Sunday, ending his 12-year rule.
He asked the Likud secretariat to reserve three places on the list of candidates for the next elections for lawmakers he succeeds in luring away from the nascent coalition.
With a narrow 61-seat majority, the new government could fall if any of its MKs decide to withhold their support and opt to vote with Netanyahu's camp.
Centrist Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid informed President Reuven Rivlin last week that he had succeeded to establish a coalition that would be led for the first two years by Yamina leader Naftali Bennett.
Netanyahu supporters have been demonstrating outside the homes of members of Bennett's Yamina calling them traitors to the cause of the right-wing.
Bennet, his deputy Ayelet Shaked and other senior members of Yamina were assigned protection in the past two weeks, after threats were made against them and their families.