MK Dr. Shlomo Karhi of the Likud on Sunday accused his fellow Likud MK Nir Barkat of undermining Likud chairman Benjamin Netanyahu.
In an interview with Arutz Sheva, Karhi said that he was wrong when he participated in Barkat's event for Likud activists last Thursday.
"It was a mistake on my part to go there after it became clear to me what Nir was doing in this event," he said.
"We heard him sharply accuse Netanyahu of going to the opposition and losing power. Nir lied to me and said he was loyal to Netanyahu and that he stands behind him. Nir is joining the political terror that says Netanyahu is to blame for the Likud going to the opposition, that it is not the left and the media but Netanyahu himself who is to blame," added MK Karhi.
The comments followed Barkat’s interview with Channel 12 News on Saturday night, in which he publicly criticized Netanyahu, and stated that if Netanyahu had held primaries for the party leadership and vacated his seat, a right-wing government would have been formed in Israel.
Barkat was asked what he thought of Netanyahu's decision to propose a rotation to Gideon Sa'ar, Natftali Bennett, Benny Gantz and Aryeh Deri, but not to anyone from the Likud, and replied, "I think the Prime Minister erred in his judgment. If the Prime Minister had said 'I am stepping aside', and sought to hold primaries in order to lead the national camp, my assessment is that the national camp would have also united around the elected candidate."
According to Barkat, if Netanyahu had allowed such a move, "It would have been the Likud, together with the national camp, forming a government on Sunday."
Still, Barkat insisted he does not intend to act to oust Netanyahu at this stage: "I have announced that I will run after the Netanyahu era and that I will also win. I have not changed my mind. Once he decides to step down, I will be there and I will win."
5,000 Likud activists, branch heads, Central Committee members and Knesset members attended the conference held by Barkat this past Thursday. What upset some Knesset members was the timing of the conference - just three days before the Likud loses power.
One of those who did not like Barkat's conference was Finance Minister Yisrael Katz, who said that "never in the history of the Likud has there been any subversive action of this kind against an incumbent Prime Minister."
When asked about Katz’s remarks, Barkat replied, "This is an event that was planned in advance. And it came out at an interesting time. There is nothing subversive here. Quite the opposite. I come and show how we can return to power as soon as possible."