Bibi flies in as his party falls into chaos
The communications minister, Limor Livnat, told delegates at a tumultuous party conference on Tuesday night: "The Likud is committing suicide.
Most damagingly for Mr Netanyahu, his national infrastructure minister, Ariel Sharon, disclosed that when the Prime Minister asked for his help in quelling a grassroots revolt, he replied: "I don't know whether to help your right hand or your left hand."
Israeli commentators speculated yesterday that the disenchantment shared by almost all his senior Likud colleagues might split the party
The immediate quarrel, as one television pundit put it, was not over principle or policy, but "who owns the shop". The issue in dispute was how the Likud selects its parliamentary candidates. After two days of anguished debate, the 3,000 conference delegates voted to abolish the American-style primaries under which candidates were chosen in 1996.
The change was opposed by all the Likud ministers and most of its serving MPs. They feared that reversion to selection by the party conference would concentrate too much power in Mr Netanyahu's hands. Most delegates, working- class branch bosses, owe their place to the Prime Minister. A nod and a wink would be enough for them to throw out anyone who did not toe the line.
Two weeks ago, Mr Netanyahu promised his rebellious ministers to postpone a decision, although he was widely believed to have orchestrated the demand to abolish primaries. At the conference on Monday, he was shouted down when he begged delegates to wait. On Tuesday, his lieutenants discreetly encouraged them to go ahead.
Ministers felt they had been deceived. One told the heavyweight Ha'aretz: "We have to start thinking about how to revive the Likud we once knew. This isn't a party. What happened here is more like the mafia."
Before leaving for London, Mr Netanyahu held out a hand of "peace and reconciliation". Addressing parliament on the second anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin's assassination, he said: "No political difference justifies violence.
The far right is awash with conspiracy theories, suggesting that the Labour leader was the victim of his own Shin Bet security service. Some light will be shed in this murky corner today, when the government publishes a report on the activities of Avishai Raviv, a right-wing extremist who doubled as a Shin Bet informer. According to media leaks, Mr Raviv heard the murderer, Yigal Amir, discussing the need to kill the Prime Minister, but neglected to tell his handlers. The security men distrusted him, but kept him on because he was still their best source on the radical right. -
- 1 Frank Lampard's face drops when Holly Willoughby introduces him as a 'Man City legend'
- 2 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 3 The confessions of men who ordered mail-order brides
- 4 General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour
- 5 Yazidi sex slaves undergoing surgery to 'restore virginity' after being raped by Isis militants
General Election 2015: Tories sack candidate who said she would never support 'the Jew' Ed Miliband
The four utterly contradictory polls that tell the story of this election and why it is pointless trying to predict the outcome
9/11: Iranian General accuses US of organising September 11 terror attacks
General Election 2015: Prospect of Labour-SNP coalition makes one in four voters less likely to support Ed Miliband, says survey
General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia
EU exit would hit UK economy much harder than neighbouring countries, study finds
£5120 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will be working for one of the countr...
£20000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...
£9000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will be working for one of the countr...
£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...