After Failed Bid to Split Kadima, Likud Officials Fear Hanegbi’s Growing Influence in Party

Hanegbi reportedly interested in serving as Home Front Defense Minister, a position that would be very important in the event of an Israeli attack on Iran.

Likud officials fear Tzachi Hanegbi's growing influence within the party, sources told Haaretz on Tuesday, a week after the former minister left Kadima, his political home of recent years, and returned to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's party.

Last week, one day after his abortive attempt to lead a group of Knesset members from Kadima to the Likud, Hanegbi declared his return to the Likud, seven years after he abandoned the party.

Political officials said at the time that Hanegbi was interested in serving as Home Front Defense Minister, a position which would be of exceptional importance if Israel were to attack Iran in the coming weeks.

Likud ministers in the government are fearful that their positions could be usurped by Hanegbi, whou could become Netanyahu’s “senior political adviser.”

Speaking to Haaretz on Tuesday, a senior Likud official said that “Hanegbi’s declaration to return to the Likud have created unrest within the party.”

“Any minister would want to be Bibi’s adviser for political matters, and everyone sees how Hanegbi is trying to usurp the position. Knesset members are mulling whether or not cooperate with him, or to try and work against him, in fears that their positions are in danger,” said the official.