Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat has single-handedly enrolled thousands of new members into the Likud since the recent Knesset elections – and according to a report on Channel Ten Sunday, it's time for political payback.
Barkat is set to make a bid to take the leadership of the Likud, in order to prepare himself to run as the party's candidate for Prime Minister in the next election, the report said. With that, he does not plan to challenge Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Barkat does not intend to step on Netanyahu's toes, the report said; he would only seek out the party leadership if Netanyahu does not run for a fifth term as Prime Minister, as many in the party expect. If Netanyahu does choose to remain on as Likud leader, the report said, Barkat will consider whether he wants to stay on as Jerusalem mayor or entering Likud politics.
In a statement, Barkat's office, responding to the report, said that “the mayor deals strictly with issues that advance the status of Jerusalem. Mayor Barkat has indicated that he intends to remain on as mayor of Jerusalem for at least two or three terms. In the next two years the mayor will decide if he intends to run for a third term. The decision will be based on the positive trends he is leading in the city.”