Sharon Fails to Dissuade Rabbi Levy from Possible Run for Israel\'s PM

Published December 20th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Chairman of the Israeli National Religious Party (NRP) Rabbi Yitzhak Levy has said that Likud chairman MK Ariel Sharon failed to dissuade him from considering a run for the premiership, according to The Jerusalem Post in its Internet edition Wednesday evening.  

However, Levy added that the five-man NRP Knesset faction would decide on the matter on Thursday. 

Thursday is also the deadline for regional cooperation minister, Shimon Peres, to officially register his candidacy. He cannot do so without obtaining the consent of the ten Meretz MKs, who are being wooed by Barak and Sharon alike. 

Haaretz confirmed in a report Wednesday that Peres will run. It said that he has already informed Meretz of his decision. 

However, Arab MK Mohammad Barakeh told on the same day that Peres is not officially a canididate, not before Meretz meet and decide to back him. 

Meretz's leadership will meet Thursday afternoon in order to discuss Peres's request for support. 

According to the Post, The NRP has taken the necessary filing forms. NRP MK Nahum Langenthal has said that that United Torah Judaism promised him that its MKs would sign the forms, thus giving Levy the necessary support, ten MKs, to formally submit his candidacy.  

Labor Party Secretary-General Minister Ra'anan Cohen has proposed that Prime Minister Ehud Barak declare that he will name Shimon Peres as finance minister after the upcoming elections, as part of the effort to dissuade Peres from running for prime minister.  

The paper said Barak is due to meet with Meretz chairman MK Yossi Sarid later Wednesday in an effort to prevent Meretz's ten MKs from endorsing Peres's candidacy. Peres is due to meet with Sarid after Barak.  

In another development, The Jerusalem post reported that the Knesset House Committee has approved expedited procedures for Shas MK Yitzhak Cohen's bill to extend, for four months, the existing system for granting deferments from compulsory military service to haredi yeshiva students.  

The bill will be presented to the Knesset plenum for its preliminary reading later Wednesday.  

Cohen presented his bill following today's Supreme Court ruling denying Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ehud Barak's request to further push off the date for implementing a previous court decision which canceled the current deferment system, according to the paper – (Several Sources)  










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