Netanyahu promises Feiglin ministry so that Zehut Party ends race

"Our paths were not exactly paved with roses," Feiglin said. "There were more downs than ups, but I can tell as a bike rider when we are on our way up."

By
August 29, 2019 18:57
3 minute read.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Zehut party leader Moshe Feiglin hold a press conference.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Zehut party leader Moshe Feiglin hold a press conference announcing Zehut's withdrawal from the elections.. (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu succeeded in persuading former MK Moshe Feiglin to remove his Zehut party from the September 17 election in return for a series of promises, they announced at a joint event with speeches in Tel Aviv on Thursday.

According to the agreement, which will be brought to a referendum of Zehut members on Sunday,  Likud and Zehut will not merge. But Feiglin will become a minister if Netanyahu forms the next government.

"I see you as a minister in my government and a partner and I really, really mean it," Netanyahu told Feiglin. "This is for before the election and after the election."   

Netanyahu promised  to bring to the Knesset a bill for legalization of medical cannabis and open the market for imports "to prevent a cartel from controlling the market." The bill would be part of the coalition agreement if Netanyahu forms the government.

At the press conference, Netanyahu and Feiglin made reference to Netanyahu's past efforts to block Feiglin's political advancement. They said they have known each other for 25 years ups and downs but never really spoke to each other

"Our paths were not exactly paved with roses," Feiglin said. "There were more downs than ups, but I can tell as a bike rider when we are on our way up."

Both Labor and the Democratic Union asked Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit to check whether the agreement constitutes "election bribery."

"Anyone who has eyes in his head knows that this is Netanyahu's corrupt deal," the Democratic Union said. "Netanyahu continues with his anti-democratic moves that border on the criminal. Netanyahu's and Likud's rule must be replaced."

"All week, Netanyahu has been working to renew the incitement alliance that led to Rabin's murder - Netanyahu, Feiglin and [Otzma Yehudit head Itamar] Ben-Gvir," Labor head Amir Peretz said. "Netanyahu is once again on the balcony with Feiglin and Ben-Gvir. This time Netanyahu incited against democracy, the police and the court. It will be an alliance of immunity and racism."

Blue and White also slammed the deal, saying that the prime minister only cares about himself and that he "
is trying to establish his extremist government of immunity" that "will advance a radical agenda of the religious coercion, conversion, and a Halachic."

"Netanyahu has no choice whatsoever for the government," Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman said. "He is ready to pay Feiglin's debts, he is ready to appoint him as minister in his government at the expense of Likud members, and he is ready to accept Rafi Peretz as Education
Minister. The same Rafi Peretz who dreams of turning universities into houses of prophets.

"In short, control at all costs, even at the cost of a Halachic government.”

Right-wing parties were more accepting of the deal, with Yemina head Ayelet Shaked calling on former Zehut voters to now vote for her party instead.

"Moshe Feiglin and the people of Zehut have significantly promoted the idea of ​​freedom, the free economy and the return of responsibility from the state to the citizen,"
she wrote on Facebook. "And now, as the picture becomes clear that the Zehut Party will not run in the upcoming elections, I call you, the people for freedom of Zehut: Join us!"



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