Nir Barkat: ‘This is not the time for unnecessary primaries’

Future Likud leadership candidate Nir Barkat came out against an immediate Likud primary, at a massive rally supporting him at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds on Thursday night.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is rumored to be considering moving up the next Likud leadership race to catch his potential opponents off guard, as he has with past primaries in the party.
“This is not the time for internal fights and unnecessary primaries,” Barkat told the crowd of thousands of supporters. “This is the time to focus on reuniting the nationalist camp and bringing the Likud back to power.”
Warning that the government being formed by Yamina leader Naftali Bennett and Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid would paralyze the country, Barkat said it must be replaced as soon as possible.
Barkat presented his economic and education plans and his security experience, and showed videos of the successes of his career as a venture capitalist and mayor of Jerusalem before entering the Knesset.
Barkat, the richest politician in Israel, funded free dinner and parking for attendees. There were hamburgers, aries, asado, chicken, rice, noodles, fish and chips, desserts and wine.
 Attendees at Nir Barkat's rally on Thursday June 10, 2021 (credit: SPOKESPERSON FOR THE OFFICE OF MK NIR BARKAT) Attendees at Nir Barkat’s rally on Thursday June 10, 2021 (credit: SPOKESPERSON FOR THE OFFICE OF MK NIR BARKAT)
The event, attended by a dozen Likud MKs, began with a video of Netanyahu speaking positively about Barkat and his accomplishments.

There were calls in Likud to boycott the event, out of concern it would be disrespectful to Netanyahu. Finance Minister Israel Katz warned that the event would “undermine” the prime minister.
In an effort to upstage Barkat’s event, Katz, who heads the Likud’s governing secretariat, announced that he would soon initiate a mass membership drive in Likud that would take place over several months. The drive is intended to refresh the ranks of the party and helps ease its NIS 80 million debt.

Health Minister Yuli Edelstein, who is also a future candidate for Likud leadership, released numbers on Thursday that indicate his success in stopping the spread of corona. When he took over in May 2020, 3,961 Israelis were suffering from the virus. There are currently just 255 active cases.

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