Former Health Minister Yuli Edelstein (Likud) excoriated Opposition Leader Benjamin Netanyahu in talks with supporters, and is planning on mounting a bid to depose Netanyahu as chairman of the Likud party.
According to a report by Kan Sunday night, Edelstein, once a key Netanyahu ally, slammed Netanyahu during conversations with supporters, and confirmed to them that he is indeed planning to challenge Netanyahu as leader of the party.
Earlier this month, Kan reported that Edelstein had spoken with other senior Likud members, sounding them out ahead of a possible run for leadership of the Likud. "Netanyahu needs to be replaced,” Edelstein was quoted as saying at the time.
Edelstein’s subsequent comments were far harsher on Netanyahu, with explicit criticism of the former prime minister’s handling of the political stalemate which ended with the formation of the current government.
“Netanyahu made every mistake possible,” said Edelstein according to the report. “Why did he agree to have Gideon [Sa’ar] and Bennett and Gantz and everyone else be Prime Minister, but didn’t offer it to anyone from the Likud?” Edelstein said of Netanyahu’s efforts earlier this year to form a coalition government with an alternate candidate as prime minister for the first year.
“Why does the Likud have to lose the premiership? In a week or two people will turn on the TV and realize that [Netanyahu] is no longer prime minister, then the shoe will drop and people will start to make him face reality.”
The former Health Minister said he indeed is planning to topple Netanyahu as leader of the Likud, but expressed concern that if the current government falls early in its term, Netanyahu could benefit politically.
“The report about my plans to run have only benefited me. I was sure that I’d be attacked, but I was surprised to see that no matter where I go, people tell me the time has come to replace Netanyahu. I don’t want to be coy about it – I don’t plan on being number two on the list. I plan to win.”
“It is possible that if this government doesn’t last long, if it starts to falter, it will be harder to run against [Netanyahu].”