At 3:00 p.m. today, Binyamin Netanyahu officially announced his candidacy for leadership of Likud and his party's candidate for the premiership. "The Likud today needs a leader who can unify the ranks, rehabilitate the ruins, and lead the Likud to victory," said Netanyahu. In a direct challenge to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, he said, "Today, the Likud and the state need a leader who will stop granting a tailwind to terrorism, who will stop spreading criminal corruption, and who will heal the rifts and abysses that opened in the people."
In anticipation of today's announcement, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon appeared on Channel 10 last evening, calling his chief rival "a man who deals poorly with pressure." To run this "special country," he said, you have to have "nerves of steel."
When asked about his son Omri Sharon's indictment for the fraudulent disbursement of 6 million shekel in his father's 1999 bid for Likud leadership, the Prime Minster responded, "I didn't know about this. I wasn't involved in it. I had no connection to it."