Gesher leader Orly Levy-Abecassis.
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI)
"Read my lips: I’m not quitting," Gesher head Orly Levy-Abekasis said in an interview with Rina Matzliach on Channel 12’s Meet the Press program on Saturday.
The interview with Levy-Abekasis was part of a marathon of interviews with the heads of all the parties running in Tuesday’s elections.
Matzliach brought Levy-Abekasis into the studio as she was finishing her interview with Kulanu head Moshe Kahlon, saying she wanted to “make a deal” between the two party heads. “We’ll work together after the elections,” Levy-Abekasis responded.
When Matzliach insisted that Kahlon said he would offer Levy-Abekasis a ministerial position, he denied the claim saying he had “never said such a thing.” Matzliach continued trying to convince them, but the conversation ended after Levy-Abekasis told her that she’s “not for sale.”
The question whether Gesher will pass the election threshold came up multiple times throughout the interview. In many polls Gesher has not reached the election threshold, while in other polls they’ve succeeded in passing the election threshold.
Matzliach asked Levy-Abekasis what she would do if Kulanu, a party with a similar platform to Gesher, would offer her the minister of health position. “What’s this offer?” Levy-Abekasis responded. “It’s an offer to not run at all with your party and with your agenda and with your excellent team, and to take a job for yourself as a minister.”
“It’s not a job, it’s the position you want,” Matzliach said in response. Levy-Abekasis continued rejected the idea of accepting such an offer, claiming that in such a situation she would be fired as soon as she would say “I don’t like what’s happening in the coalition.”
Matzliach emphasized that she thought it would be better for Levy-Abekasis to not risk getting no position. “Read my lips,” Levy-Abekasis responded. “I’m not quitting. I’m running until the end and I will be the surprise of the elections.”
During the interview, Levy-Abekasis discussed her departure from Yisrael Beytenu in 2016. “I left Yisrael Beytenu because I didn’t know that he was negotiating with the coalition when I was number two in the party,” Levy-Abekasis said.
According to Levy-Abekasis, Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman told her after the negotiations, ”We got the Defense Ministry.” She responded, “What else?” He repeated that they got the Defense Ministry. When Levy-Abekasis asked him about public housing and at-risk children, the issues that she ran with, he responded, “You don’t understand, we got the Ministry of Security.”
“At the same moment he received the decision,” Levy-Abekasis said in the interview.
Matzliach asked Levy-Abekasis which candidate she would support for prime minister. “Whoever gives us the position of Minister of Health including all the budgetary requests,” Levy-Abekasis answered. “I want to get to negotiations in which Gesher will be the balancing voice and will be able to cause a social and healthcare revolution in the State.”
Levy-Abekasis compared Likud and Blue and White, claiming that they have very similar platforms. Matzliach pointed out that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is considered more right-wing than Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid.
“I don’t know what Benny Gantz’s positions are, I have to tell you. I didn’t delve into the depths of things,” Levy-Abekasis responded. “What I did understand is that there are two leaders that aren’t interested in the issues of the public.”
Gantz and Netanyahu are fighting a “head to head cockfight.” Levy-Abekasis continued, stating that the public is "fed up" of repetitive arguments, while "5,000 people die every year in hospitals from infections and that interests no one.”
In one of the last questions in the interview, Matzliach asked Levy-Abekasis if she would vote against the French Law which would grant legal immunity to the prime minister. “If the attorney general decides to present indictments, I won’t provide a security net to any leader like this or otherwise, because in my eyes a citizen and a PM are equal,” Abekasis responded.
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