JERUSALEM (Mar. 15)
Foreign Minister David Levy is not responding to peace overtures from the Likud leadership to keep the party united for the upcoming election campaign.
Although he met privately with Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir last Thursday, Levy by all accounts still blames a cabal of Shamir, Moshe Arens and Ariel Sharon for the political humiliation he suffered when the Likud Central Committee selected the party’s election slate two weeks ago.
Levy’s candidates were virtually shut out of the voting March 1 and 2. And the foreign minister himself dropped from No. 2 to fourth place in the Likud hierarchy, behind Shamir, Arens and Sharon.
Shamir promised to set up a “joint committee” to discuss differences between the respective camps.
But Levy reportedly demanded that roughly a third of all party posts, from Cabinet ministers down, go to his people.
Levy bases that on his showing at the Central Committee last month, when he and Housing Minister Sharon mounted direct challenges to Shamir for party leadership.
Although the prime minister won handily with 46 percent of the Central Committee members backing him, Levy polled 32 percent and Sharon won 21 percent.
Meanwhile, members of Levy’s camp continue to urge him to leave Likud and establish a new party with other disgruntled politicians.
They might include Aharon Abuhatzeira, relegated to the perilous 36th spot on the election list, and Finance Minister Yitzhak Moda’i, who bolted Likud two years ago and is being rebuffed in his attempt to return.