Arens to Challenge Netanyahu

<i> From Associated Press</i>

The man who helped Benjamin Netanyahu leave the furniture business and go into politics 17 years ago announced Monday that he will try to wrest the leadership of the Likud Party from his former protege and run for prime minister of Israel.

Moshe Arens, a former defense minister and Israeli ambassador to the United States, gave Netanyahu his political start in 1982 by appointing him to the No. 2 spot at the Israeli Embassy in Washington.

But the two men parted ways after Netanyahu became prime minister in 1996. Arens, like several other Likud veterans, began expressing a lack of trust in Netanyahu and faulted him for ill-considered appointments.

Arens, who retired from politics more than six years ago, is the fourth rival Likud member to seek the premiership. Zeev Binyamin Begin and Dan Meridor left the party to run for prime minister independently. Uzi Landau, a Likud legislator, has said he will challenge Netanyahu for the party leadership.