(photo credit: FACEBOOK)
Safed Mayor Ilan Shohat on Tuesday gave up his chance to be a MK to remain mayor, and will be replaced in the next Knesset by Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman’s close ally, current Yisrael Beytenu MK Robert Ilatov.
Speaking at a press conference in Safed, the No. 4 candidate on Yisrael Beytenu’s list said that he ran for the Knesset because he wanted to make decisions that would influence the country and help his city.
However, Shohat said, “when the election ended, to my amazement, I was surprised by something I did not expect.
Residents of Safed put pressure on me to stay in the city. I found a loving, supportive city.”
On Tuesday, Shohat referred to Facebook groups and signs plastered around the city, reflecting “waves of admiration from the residents” that convinced him to remain mayor, not the fact that he would be unlikely to receive a ministerial post after his party received six Knesset seats, down from its current 13.
When asked whether the fact that Yisrael Beytenu received under 8 percent of the vote in Safed does not belie his claim of widespread popularity, Shohat responded that people who did not vote for the party did not do so because they did not want him to get in to the Knesset.
The party received 5.1 percent of the vote nationally.
As a result of Shohat’s resignation, Ilatov, No. 7 on the Yisrael Beytenu list and its faction chairman, will be sworn in as an MK for the fourth time next week. Ilatov is viewed by many as Liberman’s eyes and ears in the legislature.
In Yesh Atid, a source close to MK Shai Piron said that he plans to quit if his party sits in the opposition.
Before the last election, Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid convinced Piron to enter politics by promising him the Education portfolio, which he held for most of the outgoing Knesset.
If Piron resigns, the next person on the list is Elazar Stern, who was a Hatnua MK most of the outgoing Knesset and moved to Yesh Atid after the early election was set.
Yesh Atid’s MK Yaakov Peri, the former science and technology minister, denied reports that he, too, plans to leave the Knesset.