JERUSALEM (May. 3)
Likud will enter the Knesset elections next November united behind Premier Yitzhak Shamir, party sources indicated Tuesday.
A divisive battle for leadership of Herut, the dominant faction in the Likud bloc, appears to have been averted. Deputy Premier and Housing Minister David Levy announced Tuesday that there will be “no confrontation.”
That means that Levy and Ariel Sharon, the minister of commerce and industry, will support Shamir’s re-election as Herut leader and his candidacy for the office of prime minister.
Shamir is expected to be endorsed by acclamation when the Herut Central Committee meets next month, and will head the party’s election list to be announced in July.
Levy and Sharon have challenged Shamir in the past. Levy, who has made no secret of his ambition to be Israel’s first prime minister of Moroccan origin, met Sunday with Shamir and his close associate Moshe Arens, a Herut minister without portfolio. They met again Tuesday.
Levy apparently sought to affirm his position as Herut’s No. 2 man. Shamir reportedly acknowledged that status, though he did not make a commitment to offer Levy the foreign or defense ministries in a Likud government.