Levy Locked out of Foreign Affairs Post

David Levy, foreign minister until Monday, suffered a further embarrassing setback when he failed to be elected by his party to membership in the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

To fill its five seats on the prestigious committee, Likud elected Levy’s rivals for the party leadership: Ariel Sharon and Moshe Katsav, along with Moshe Nissim, Ze’ev “Benny” Begin and Eliahu Ben-Elissar.

Also disappointed in the secret ballot were former ministers Dan Meridor and Ehud Olmert.

But the blow to Levy was seen, by him and by others, as a continuation of the internal strife that has plagued Likud since the beginning of the year. This atmosphere is believed to have gravely damaged the party’s standing in the eyes of the electorate.

“This is more of the same trend,” a rueful Levy told newsmen after the vote. Nissim insisted that the vote “be corrected,” but Levy said he would not hear of this.

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