Only Netanyahu Files to Run in Likud Leadership Race

MKs Oren Hazan and Avi Dichter, both of whom had been mooted as possible challengers, decided not to run given Netanyahu’s broad support.

Netanyahu at a Likud faction meeting, July 2015.
Emil Salman

The list of candidates to head Likud closed Sunday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the only person running, assuring that he will lead the party in the next general election.

The Likud election committee must now decide whether to hold an election in which party members could vote against Netanyahu or simply cancel the election and declare him the winner. A vote would cost around 4 million shekels ($1 million).

MKs Oren Hazan and Avi Dichter, both of whom had been mooted as possible challengers, decided not to run given Netanyahu’s broad support.

“There’s no doubt Netanyahu scored a victory over anyone who wanted to contend against him,” a senior Likud official said. “But the move may end up boomeranging because it could anger significant people like Gideon Sa’ar, Yisrael Katz and others who see themselves as potential party leaders.”

Sa’ar, a former education and interior minister, took a time-out from politics in 2014. Katz currently has two portfolios – transportation as well as intelligence and atomic energy.