Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is looking into the possibility of moving up the Likud primaries so that they take place within two months.
In recent days, Netanyahu spoke about the idea with a number of officials in the faction, though Netanyahu's associates said on Saturday night that while he was considering the move, he has not yet made a final decision on the matter.
Speculations are rampant that Netanyahu’s move with regards to the primaries is an attempt to stop former minister Gideon Sa’ar from running against him for the Likud leadership.
Sa’ar, who last year unexpectedly announced he was leaving politics, continues to enjoy popularity among members of the Likud. In fact, a recent poll indicated that Sa'ar is the only politician in Israel who could really pose a threat to Netanyahu's leadership.
Sa’ar considered contending for the leadership of the Likud party before the last election, but ultimately announced he would not do so. He has, however, hinted of possible plans to return to politics.
Minister Yisrael Katz, chairman of the Likud secretariat, clarified on Saturday night that there are no plans to move up the primaries.
"Contrary to the rumors: the elections for the Likud will not be moved up and will be held in accordance with the constitution of the Likud, half a year before the next elections. The Likud government headed by Binyamin Netanyahu is in the midst of a battle against Islamic terrorism and is facing complex security, political and economic challenges, and certainly it's not time for political moves that might make it more difficult and lead to political instability in Israel," Katz said.
Sa‘ar, meanwhile, responded to the report and wrote on his Twitter account, "I find it hard to believe that in the middle of the wave of terrorism and on the day it hit Ra'anana - that the Prime Minister is engaged in petty politics."