(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Senior United Torah Judaism MK Moshe Gafni said on Monday that he was uncomfortable with the political reality in which the leader of the right-wing bloc, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was facing a pre-indictment hearing.
The fiery MK said however that he and his party would be backing Netanyahu again regardless of his legal predicament, and that he would still refuse to sit in a coalition with Yesh Atid and its leader Yair Lapid.
“This whole situation in which the prime minister in suspected of criminal [wrongdoing] is uncomfortable for me,” Gafni told KAN radio on Monday.
He said, however, that he felt Netanyahu has been treated differently than other citizens who, had they been faced with such accusations would have faced indictment over them, and said that there was an attempt to stop the prime minister from leading the country.
“I think that regarding Netanyahu they have greatly exaggerated, I don’t want to say more than that because I don’t know, but the reality is that there are many who wanted for him not to continue as prime minister,” said Gafni.
He also addressed his and United Torah Judaism’s longstanding position not to sit in a coalition with Lapid, saying that nothing had changed in that regard, but that had Benny Gantz and his party run separate from Yesh Atid, events could have transpired differently.
“The situation would have been different although we would have gone with Netanyahu because we said the whole time to our voters that we are going with Netanyahu, but it could have really changed the picture if Lapid hadn’t been involved,” said Gafni.
The UTJ MK might have been alluding to a possible national unity government involving Likud, Gantz’s Israel Resilience Party and the haredi parties.
Gafni said that he did not know “what will be, going forward” in terms of Netanyahu’s continued premiership but insisted that he and UTJ would recommend him again to serve as the next prime minister.
“I am going with him [Netanyahu] because I think he is a good prime minister,” said Gafni, arguing that Netanyahu has acted judiciously in terms of security and diplomatic concerns and acted in the interests of Israel’s citizens.
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