Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich said on Friday said that Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu had offered her the post of finance minister, but she did not wish to
be the “hangman” of a government whose policies were in complete opposition to
her party’s ideals.
Yacimovich made the comments in an interview with
Channel 2, hours after Likud Beytenu signed coalition agreements with Yesh Atid
and Bayit Yehudi, leaving the Labor chairwoman to lead the
She said that her refusal to join the government was not a
personal slight to Netanyahu, but rather the result of deep ideological
differences between the prime minister’s economic world view and that of the
Labor Party. Yacimovich said she promised during the election campaign not to
join Netanyahu’s government and she kept that promise.
Because of the
large ideological gap, coalition negotiations between the parties did not go
very far into the details, she said.
Yacimovich addressed recent public
comments by Shas co-leader Arye Deri that Labor and Shas held the same
socioeconomic outlook, saying that she had not “spoken to Deri in years.” The
“public hug” from Deri was not to her liking, she said. While both Shas and
Labor wanted the state to worry more for its citizens’ welfare, Shas was a
sectoral party concerned only with its own constituents, Yacimovich
Asked if she would meet with United States President Barack Obama
during his visit to Israel this week, Yacimovich said that while she would do
all she could to meet him, since she would not be named opposition leader until
a week later, Obama might rule that out.