Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu last week ruled out speculation that he would
seek a merger with Kadima and Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s Independence
faction, a notion that has been floating around the political establishment over
the past two months.
According to one rumor, Netanyahu would split the
Likud as former prime minister Ariel Sharon did when he formed Kadima. Others
said Netanyahu would keep the Likud together but seek to add left-wing elements
to balance out the increasing influence of thousands of settlers who have joined
Netanyahu rejected both of those ideas in conversations with
Likud ministers and MKs on Wednesday ahead of a vote in the Knesset on the
controversial “Outpost Bill.”
“I will not merge the factions and I will
not bring Kadima members into the Likud,” he told the politicians in comments
first revealed by Israel HaYom. “I will not reserve a slot for Barak on the
In the closed conversations, Netanyahu said he did not
believe the five Independence MKs would be an electoral asset for the Likud. He
spoke even stronger against the membership of the Kadima Party.
would I want to bring into the Likud Kadima members who were loyal to Ariel
Sharon and who dislike me?” Netanyahu was quoted as saying by the politicians.