Likud leadership candidate Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom
, addressing Likud interim chairman Tzahi Hanegbi's defection to the Kadima party, accused the Likud rebels of breaking up the Likud.
"I think the group of extremists managed to break up the Likud - to crush it," the foreign minister charged. "It is forcing people to leave it, to leave home."
Hinting at the ongoing squabbles within the party, Shalom charged: "People are bullying and aggressive, perpetrating witch hunts against others, and trying to drive out [other party members]." He appealed to his fellow Likudniks
to "do everything in order to keep our people at home [in the Likud].