After much consideration, he told Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Monday, Benny Begin will run in the upcoming Likud primary and seek a seat in the 19th Knesset. Begin, who is currently a minister without portfolio, had said last year that he would not seek reelection.
Sources in the Likud said that considerable pressure had been placed on Begin to sign on again as a Knesset member. Netanyahu, the sources said, saw retaining Begin as an important goal – because of his association with his late father, former Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and to stem the seeming tide of abandonment of the Likud by MKs and ministers, the most prominent Communications Minister Moshe Kachlon, who announced last week that he is leaving politics altogether.
A report on Channel Ten Monday night portrayed an angry Kachlon sharply criticizing Netanyahu and the Likud, saying that the Prime Minister had stood in the way of a number of the reforms he had tried to institute in the Communications and Welfare Ministries. Netanyahu, he said, tried to prevent the reforms Kachlon instituted in the cellphone industry.
The report quoted Kachlon as saying that it was very unlikely that the Likud would get 28 seats in the next Knesset, as was the case in the current Knesset. He added that if former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert chose to run, he would probably form the next government.