Hard as it may be to believe, senior members of the Likud are worried about a possible collapse of the Labor Party in next week’s elections. “You must realize, we want to set up a unity government, and every seat that Labor loses to Shinui or Meretz hurts the plan,” a Likud member said.

A senior member of the party said that Labor’s defeat is a basic interest for the Likud. But there are fears that Shinui will become the second largest party in Israel and cause a stalemate in coalition contacts, which would cause “political chaos,” as the senior member put it. “The prime minister is certainly happy about the Likud’s increase in strength and anticipated victory, but is concerned about the way the political arena is taking shape,” an associate of the Likud said.

This article ran on the January 24th, 2003 issue of Maariv