Daily Israel Report

Rumor: Netanyahu May Leave Likud

Is the prime minister planning a move similar to Sharon's departure from Likud and creation of a new party?
By Shlomo Pyotrkovsky
First Publish: 6/4/2012, 10:20 AM

Binyamin Netanyahu
Binyamin Netanyahu
Reuters

Is Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu planning a move similar to the one undertaken by Ariel Sharon, who left Likud and created a new party, Kadima, in 2005?

The deep tension over the fate of Givat HaUlpana is giving rise to renewed rumors that such a move is possible. Sources close to the prime minister have been making veiled threats to this effect in the past few days. The threats are directed to the ears of Likud ministers, who are unsure how to vote Wednesday on the Regulation Bill that would legalize Givat HaUlpana, saving it and neighborhoods with similar legal status from being torn down.

According to these threats, Netanyahu may carry out what is termed in local politics "a big bang," like the move Sharon executed seven years ago  to enable him to carry out the Gaza Disengagement. He will leave Likud – presumably with some of the Likud MKs in tow, like Sharon – and join forces with Kadima, the party Sharon formed when Likud refused to support the Disengagement. This could happen, the rumor says, if Likud ministers embarrass Netanyahu by voting in favor of the Regulation Law.

While such threats have been floating in the political arena for a long time, it seems that Netanyahu's confidantes have poured new life into them in order to threaten the ministers.