Netanyahu and Edelstein
Netanyahu and EdelsteinKobi Gideon/GPO

The chairman of the opposition and the Likud, MK Benjamin Netanyahu, this week met with fellow Likud MK Yuli Edelstein, Channel 12 News reported on Friday.

The meeting is somewhat surprising given that Edelstein recently openly announced during a television interview that he would run against Netanyahu for the leadership of the Likud and even criticized him saying, "We will never return to power with him - we failed four times, how will we suddenly succeed a fifth time?"

According to Channel 12 News, Edelstein met with Netanyahu in his office in the Knesset and the two spoke for more than an hour at the meeting which was defined as "long and good."

The two reportedly discussed Netanyahu and Edelstein's desire to move up the primaries in the Likud to the beginning of next year. Edelstein is interested in this move in order to cement his position in the party as Netanyahu’s heir apparent even if he loses in the primaries.

As for Netanyahu, the report explained, if primaries are held soon it will ensure Netanyahu continues to lead the Likud for many more years, perhaps almost a decade, until the end of the term of the next Knesset. On the other hand, if he runs in the upcoming primaries and wins, this could lead to a split in the Likud due to the fact that senior members of the party who see themselves as candidates to succeed Netanyahu will not agree to see him remain as party chairman for at least another eight years.

According to Channel 12 News, two people with great influence in the Likud, Yisrael Katz and Haim Katz, are trying to prevent early primaries in hopes that Netanyahu will step down.

Asked to comment on their meeting, both Netanyahu and Edelstein issued an identical statement saying that the two "discussed ways to overthrow the government as soon as possible and bring the Likud back to power."

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)