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MK Binyamin Netanyahu is considering taking the advice of some of his close associates, retiring from politics and returning to the business sector, Maariv's Ben Caspit reported on Friday.
The associates told the Likud premiership candidate that if the need arises, he would surely be called back to the political arena, and if not, "it would be entirely their loss, big deal."
According to Netanyahu's confidants, even if he beats Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in the Likud primaries, he could be remembered as the person who deposed a prime minister who was still in office and is considered very popular and successful among the general public. As a result, he may lose the general elections.
The advisers are concerned that if Netanyahu loses the general elections, he would be remembered as not only the person who deposed Sharon but also as the man who brought down the Likud.
Some of Netanyahu's associates reacted angrily to the report, telling The Jerusalem Post that the report was part of a conspiracy between journalists and Sharon.
"There is not a scintilla of truth in the report," Netanyahu's bureau chief Yechiel Leiter told the Post. "Netanyahu will be embarking on a campaign after Succoth with every intention to win the primaries. This is yet another example of Pravda-like journalism enlisted to support Ariel Sharon's political agenda and discredit anyone who opposes it," Leiter said.
A source close to Sharon responded by saying that the report was "interesting."
"Bibi has been hit hard in the polls and is in a difficult situation," the source said. "He should do whatever he feels is best for him."