A poll in the Hebrew daily “Ma’ariv” found 43 percent of Likud members support Netanyahu, compared to 39 percent for Sharon. But Israel’s biggest newspaper, “Yediot Ahronot,” showed Sharon with 43 percent compared to 40 percent for Netanyahu. The polls indicate a much closer race than originally anticipated. While the hawkish Likud wants to punish Sharon for the Gaza pullout, members are also concerned about a split that could devastate the party. Therefore, a significant portion of the party wants to keep Sharon, and in turn the Likud, in power.
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