Avi Dichter
Avi Dichter Adina Welman, Knesset spokesperson

Former Shin Bet chief MK Avi Dichter announced on Sunday that he will run against Benjamin Netanyahu for the Likud leadership as soon as primaries are announced in the party.

"When there are primaries, I will run for the Likud leadership – even against Netanyahu," Dichter said in an interview on Reshet Bet radio.

On US President Joe Biden's statement regarding the Iranian nuclear issue following his meeting with Prime Minister Bennett, Dichter said that "Israel must not be a guinea pig. There is no reason for Israel to be coordinated with the United States - surprises are part of the game."

A poll conducted about two weeks ago for Channel 12 News asked the public whether in its opinion the Netanyahu era as head of the Likud party was over. 56% of respondents answered no and 34% answered yes.

Among right-wing voters, Netanyahu's status is stronger: 71% of respondents think his time as Likud leader is not over and 22%, about one-fifth of right-wing voters, think that the Netanyahu era is over.

As for the question of who should replace Netanyahu once he is no longer leading the party, 31% answered Nir Barkat, 12% said Miri Regev, 9% said Avi Dichter, 6% said Yuli Edelstein, 5% replied Yisrael Katz and 3% answered Tzachi Hanegbi. A third of Likud voters does not have a preferred candidate yet.

If Nir Barkat heads the Likud, the party, according to the poll, will lose a quarter of its power - 8 seats. In this scenario, the Likud will drop to 24 seats, Yesh Atid will have 20 seats, Blue and White and the Religious Zionist party will each win 10 seats and Shas will win 9 seats. Labor will receive 8 seats, Yisrael Beytenu and United Torah Judaism will each win 7 seats, and Yamina headed by Prime Minister Bennett will win 6 seats.