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Likud must oust Netanyahu to save right-wing coalition – settler chief

CM 20/04/2021

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The Likud Party must remove Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu so that it can ensure that Israel has a stable right-wing government, Yesha Council head David Elhayani told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.
“Bibi should step-down and the Likud should replace him,” Elhayani said as he put forward the best option to end the political stalemate that might send Israel into its fifth election within a three-year time frame.
Both MK Gideon Sa’ar, head of the New Hope Party, and MK Bezalel Smotrich who heads the Religious Zionist Party (RZP) are under pressure to join a Netanyahu-led coalition or risk imperiling a right-wing government.
Elhayani – who broke with Netanyahu when he failed to make good on his pledge to annex West Bank settlements – said it was misguided to shine the spotlight on Sa’ar or Smotrich when the fate of a right-wing government rests solely with the Likud.
To him, the path to a 65-member right-wing coalition is with Likud at 30 mandates, Shas at 9, United Torah Judaism at 7, Yamina at 7, New Hope at 6 and RZP at 6 is clear.
“The Likud should continue to lead, just without Bibi [Netanyahu],” Elhayani explained. Otherwise, the Likud could find itself in the opposition, he added.
Elhayani spoke as Netanyahu is caught in a political Gordian knot that threatens to bring his historic 12-year consecutive reign as prime minister to an end.

During the election campaign, Sa’ar promised not to join a Netanyahu-led government and he has held to that pledge, even though his absence leaves Netanyahu with only 59 mandates, two short of the necessary 61.
“Gideon promised his voters that he would not sit under Netanyahu and I am not even going into whether it was good or bad to that, but the moment he said it, he was bound to it,” Elhayani said. During the election, he broke his long-standing support for the Likud Party and endorsed Sa’ar’s New Hope. It’s a move he still stands by.
“It is important for a politician to maintain political integrity,” Elhayani explained.
“A politician who promises something has to stand by his word,” Elhayani said, adding that this was particularly true given that Netanyahu has shown how little his own promises were worth.
Netanyahu’s proposal to circumvent the damage done by Sa’ar is to create a 59-member coalition that rests with support from the outside by Ra’am, an Israeli-Arab party.
Smotrich, however, has clarified that he has no intention of joining a coalition dependent on an Israeli-Arab party. It’s a move that also dooms Netanyahu’s chance to form a right-wing coalition.
Elhayani said that “Smotich is correct” to take that position. No right-wing government can be dependent on a party like Ra’am, he said.
“Any party that does so can no longer be considered a right-wing party,” he said.
It is for these reasons, he said, that the fate of the Right, now rests with the Likud.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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