Nir Barkat ‘won’t support Netanyahu’ but will he run against him?

‘Likud needs change.’

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

Former Jerusalem Mayor and Likud Economy Minister Nir Barkat publicly declared he won’t support Netanyahu again, prompting criticism that he may run against him in the Likud primaries.

Last week, Nir Barkat said at a Likud gathering, “I won’t support Netanyahu again. After the war, we must turn to the people and get its trust anew. Likud needs change.”

He added, “I’m acting in accordance with an agenda, and it is nearing its end.”

Many in the media have interpreted this to mean that Barkat plans to challenge the Prime Minister’s leadership of the party, and Kan radio indicated, according to an anonymous source, that he has said this privately.

It’s been no secret that Barkat has widely criticized the wartime budget which he believes is insufficient to cover wartime needs and could create “an economic collapse.”

Barkat absented himself from a reading of the amended budget and voted against it, which is notable since it is ordinarily taboo for coalition members to vote contrary to the coalition’s wishes.

Nir Barkat served as Mayor of Jerusalem between 2008 and 2018, until the entrepreneur and philanthropist decided not to seek re-election and introduced a new political career on the national stage.

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When he decided to run as an MK, Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed this move and said, “I welcome you with open arms to our movement.”

He expressed optimism about the opportunity to work with Barkat in the future “for the benefit of the country.”

Barkat served as a major in the IDF reserves and succeeded in leadership roles at pioneering Israeli tech firms.

Nir Barkat presided over prosperity and renewal in the city of Jerusalem.

Before departing as mayor, he said, “Jerusalem is booming. We see it in the number and variety of tourists, in the hi-tech sector, cultural renaissance, the tremendous investment in infrastructure for public transportation, new light rails, network cabling, among other things.”