Netanyahu-levy Rivalry Threatens to Split Likud

Internal strife within the Likud intensified this week as a power struggle between party leader Benjamin Netanyahu and archrival David Levy threatened to tear Israel’s main opposition group apart.

After months of political tensions and personal resentment, Levy this week threatened to leave the party and form his own.

The threat surfaced after Netanyahu called a meeting of the Likud Central Committee for June 5 with the intent of passing a framework for upcoming party primaries.

Levy said the framework would minimize the chances for his supporters to appear on Likud bloc lists in next year’s general elections.

In an effort to head off a spilt, Netanyahu appealed to Levy for a one-on-one meeting to discuss their differences.

But Levy rejected the call, saying he would only do so if Netanyahu first called off the central committee meeting.

Netanyahu later issued a statement, saying that “anything Levy wants to bring up at a meeting will be discussed openly and seriously.” But the Likud leader refused to agree to any preconditions for their meetings.

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