Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sent a letter to Likud director-general Gabi Ariely on Thursday officially dropping out of Tuesday's race to head the Likud party convention.
Netanyahu delayed the race for a year due to his unpopularity in the party but was forced to convene it by the Tel Aviv District Court.
Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon will face off against former minister Michael Eitan and Gidon Ariel, a Likud central committee member from Ma'aleh Adumim.
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