In what amounted to an attempted coup within the Likud, the party secretariat voted on Tuesday night to strip the chairman of key powers over spending and appointments, The Jerusalem Post reported.
The current chairman, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, afterward had a showdown with members of the secretariat, who had appropriated those powers to themselves.
Netanyahu arranged with Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, the chairman of the secretariat, for a meeting next Sunday to suspend the decision.
However to satisfy the grievances of the Likud officials, Netanyahu’s lawyer David Shimron and coalition chairman David Bitan will be assigned the task of drawing up new rules for running the party.
Katz voted for the proposal along with two other Likud ministers, Labor and Social Services Minister Haim Katz and Environmental Protection and Yerushalayim Affairs Minister Zeev Elkin. Minister-without-Portfolio Tzachi Hanegbi voted against it.
“The secretariat will now be stronger and more independent,” a source close to Katz said.
The pro-Netanyahu faction accused Katz of staging a putsch.
“Yisrael Katz will run the party without being elected while the prime minister will remain Likud leader without real control over the party,” according to Netanyahu loyalist Lior Harari.
If, that is, the secretariat’s decision were allowed to stand.