TV: Likud’s Katz offered to replace Netanyahu as PM for a year to allow for right-wing gov’t

Channel 12 news reports that Finance Minister Israel Katz recently suggested to Prime Minister Netanyahu that the Likud Central Committee hold a vote for the ruling party’s chairman and that whoever wins will serve as premier for a year instead of Netanyahu to allow for the formation of a right-wing government.

The apparent aim of such a move would be entice New Hope leader Gideon Sa’ar, who opposes sitting in a Netanyahu-led government, into joining a coalition made up of the the premier’s right-wing religious bloc but that isn’t headed by him.

The TV report, which did not cite a source, says Katz believed he could win a snap leadership vote and thus become prime minister if Netanyahu were to agree.

Katz also reportedly told Netanyahu that he and his family can continue living in the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem during that year.

Netanyahu, however, rejected the proposal.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, listens to then-Foreign Minister Israel, now Finance Minister, Israel Katz during the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem, October 27, 2019. (Gali Tibbon/Pool Photo via AP)

The report comes a day after Katz lashed out at Likud MK Nir Barkat, who also sees himself as a successor to Netanyahu, for planning an upcoming conference to unveil his “vision” for Israel, calling it a “subversive” action against the incumbent party leader.

In a separate report, Channel 12 says that if Netanyahu’s rivals succeed in forming a government that will see a new prime minister for the first time in over 12 years, the Likud chief doesn’t intend to leave politics or give up his spot as party leader, and is likely to become opposition leader in the Knesset.

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