(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is misleading voters by saying the Likud needs to grow larger for him to be prime minister, MK Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi) said in a video interview for The Jerusalem Post’s sister publication, Ma’ariv website.
Bayit Yehudi averaged 12.4 seats in last week’s polls, dropping to 11 in some.
Shaked pointed out that the party “started out [the election season] with 16 seats [in polls] and, in my opinion, some of the opinion bought the prime minister’s nonsense that the size of the party is what’s important.”
“It will be a big mistake by the public to bring Avi Dichter [26 on the Likud list] in to the Knesset instead of Orit Struck [14 in Bayit Yehudi],” she added.
Shaked repeated Bayit Yehudi’s campaign message, that a large Bayit Yehudi will prevent Netanyahu from forming a coalition with the Left, saying that “in the last two elections, the prime minister dumped the Right, and it is unfortunate that the ideological Right is fooled by his campaign.”
Still, Shaked vowed that Bayit Yehudi will not run a negative campaign against Likud, even though they are competing for the same votes.
“I believe the public will wake up and understand that it is important to have a right-wing ideological party in the Knesset,” she said.
Shaked also discussed her party’s campaign to have her be public security minister, saying she would prefer the justice portfolio, as it is more central to Bayit Yehudi’s platform.
“The goal is for Bayit Yehudi to have a lot of seats and get both ministries,” she said.
As for the clash between Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, who aspires to take over the defense portfolio, over who was first to call for an attack on Hamas-dug tunnels from Gaza, Shaked said she was not in the cabinet and only knew what was in the press.
At the same time, she said Bennett warned the cabinet for weeks before they listened to him.
According to Shaked, Eshkol Regional Council chairman and Yesh Atid candidate Haim Yellin should thank Bennett, because “when we visited him, he said the politicians are not taking care of the tunnels.”
“An MK on the Left told me that if he could publicize what he knows [about the tunnels issue], Bennett would be elected prime minister,” she recounted.
“In another 10-20 years, the protocols will be declassified and the truth will come out.”
The interview took place before the death of Bayit Yehudi MK and Pensioner Affairs Minister Uri Orbach was announced, and Shaked later added that he was “a dominant part of the Bayit Yehudi team.
“Even when we would argue, he knew to speak differently, with his special twist, in his unique way. He led faction meetings and knew to put a smile on our faces even in the difficult moments. We will remember him and walk in his path, always with a sense of humor. Rest in peace, my friend,” she said.