Yuli Edelstein and Benjamin Netanyahu attending a Likud faction meeting

Edelstein said poised to challenge Netanyahu for Likud leadership

Party sources say other senior members likely to join health minister and former Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat in succession fight for top job, while Finance Minister Israel Katz fumes at what he calls moves to undermine outgoing PM

Yuval Karni |
Published: 06.08.21 , 14:37
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.
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  • 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.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    ישיבת סיעת של הליכוד
    ישיבת סיעת של הליכוד
    Yuli Edelstein and Benjamin Netanyahu attending a Likud faction meeting
    (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)
    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.
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    ניר ברקת
    ניר ברקת
    Former Jerusalem mayor and Likud MK Nir Barkat
    (Photo: Idan Arbel)
    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.
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    בנימין נתניהו בטקס ההוקרה
    בנימין נתניהו בטקס ההוקרה
    Outgoing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at an event on Sunday to honor Israeli healthcare workers following the coronavirus pandemic
    (Photo: EPA)
    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.
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    ההפגנה מול ביתו של אורבך
    ההפגנה מול ביתו של אורבך
    Netanyahu supporters demonstrating outside the home of Yamina MK Nir Orbach urging him to reject the new coalition
    (Photo: Amit Shaal)
    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.

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