“Let me make it clear to those who have been spreading rumors suggesting I’m considering leaving the party — I’m not going anywhere,” PM says • Rumors of political departure spread by “political rivals who wish to see me move out of the way,” he says.
Mati Tuchfeld, ISRAEL HAYOM
“Let me make it clear to all my rivals in the Likud, who have been spreading rumors suggesting I’m considering leaving the party — I’m not going anywhere,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said over the weekend.
Netanyahu stressed that the individuals spreading rumors suggesting he plans to break from the Likud and join forces with Yisrael Beytenu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman to form a new party were “political rivals who wish to see me move out of the way.”
The prime minister also relayed a message to Likud MKs who have said that the Likud has “no room” for anyone pursuing a peace deal with the Palestinians, saying that “any further expressions of this kind will meet a harsh response.”
Netanyahu met with several political advisers working with Likud ministers and deputy ministers on Friday, ahead of the Likud caucus, which has been scheduled for April. The prime minister seeks to see several issues included on the convention’s agenda, as well as torpedo several proposals Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon seeks to present to Likud members.
The meetings, which political sources called “unusual,” took place at the prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem, and included the political advisers of Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz, Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin and Deputy Minister Ofir Akunis.
Netanyahu also held meetings with senior Likud ministers and MKs ahead of the party’s convention, saying there is great importance in defeating Danon in the caucus and that he has no intention of backing down.
Danon sent a letter to Netanyahu on Saturday, expressing his support of the prime minister ahead of his trip to the United States. “I have no doubt that you will properly represent the values of the Likud, mainly the need to maintain Israel’s security, and that you will not buckle under the pressure of those who demand we divide Jerusalem and return to the 1967 lines,” Danon wrote.