Nir Barkat walked across town from his spacious and handsome home in Jerusalem’s Beit Hakerem neighborhood to a synagogue in affluent Talbieh. For part of the way, he was accompanied by the Netanyahu family.
If it were up to the prime minister and his wife, Barkat − who was quick to commemorate Benjamin Netanyahu’s late father, Benzion, by naming an interchange for him, and in the last general election publicly supported Netanyahu − would go on to a second term as mayor.
However, bitter internal party opposition to the Netanyahus has sprung up, and its instigators are making a supreme effort to ensure that Barkat is booted out of office.
The opposition is led by the person who is in the second slot on Likud’s joint slate of Knesset candidates, and whose unconcealed ambition is to replace him in the future: MK Avigdor Lieberman, leader of Yisrael Beiteinu.
The battle for the Jerusalem municipality offers an instructive lesson about the prime minister’s inability to control his own party − Netanyahu could not even deliver when it comes to the party’s candidate for mayor in Israel’s key city.
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