Fans of former minister Gideon Sa'ar swarm him at a pre Rosh Hashana toast he hosted for Likud activists Monday night in Or Yehuda.
(photo credit: EZRA LEVY)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s chances of forming the next government took two blows on Monday when both Zionist Union leader Avi Gabbay and popular MK Orly Levy-Abecasis ruled out joining a Netanyahu-led coalition.
The statements by Gabbay and Levy-Abecasis, made in speeches at a conference in Jerusalem sponsored by Channel 2, could force Netanyahu to form the same current coalition if he wins the 2019 election and could raise the asking price of the parties.
“I will not sit with Netanyahu, period,
” Gabbay said. “There is no ‘but’ and there is no ‘despite.’ I will not sit with him.”
Gabbay quit Netanyahu’s current government when he was a member of Kulanu to protest the prime minister appointing Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman as defense minister.
Levy-Abecasis, who is forming a new party that is expected to do well in the next election, spoke in less definitive terms, but left no doubt that she would rather crown a different prime minister. In her criticism of Netanyahu, she sounded like her father, former foreign minister David Levy, who was Netanyahu’s nemesis when the prime minister’s political career began.
“I don’t think it is possible to fight for your innocence while serving as prime minister,” she said, recalling that Netanyahu himself had made a similar statement when he was opposition leader and Ehud Olmert was prime minister.
Levy-Abecasis accused the Likud of forgetting the country’s periphery. Culture Minister Miri Regev (Likud) responded by saying Levy-Abecasis had formed a “fad party” that would harm the stability of the government. Levy-Abecasis broke off from Yisrael Beytenu after Liberman did not appoint her a minister when he joined Netanyahu’s coalition.
Liberman sparred with Education Minister Naftali Bennett at the conference. Responding to recent criticism from Bennett on how he handles the IDF, Liberman said ministers should concentrate on their own ministries and that Bennett should focus on removing pedophile teachers.
Bennett reacted by saying that the only two pedophile teachers had been removed, “and it took less than 48 hours” – a reference to Liberman’s statement when he was in the opposition that if he became defense minister, he would assassinate Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh within that period of time.
Meanwhile, more than 1,000 Likud activists attended a rally hosted by former minister Gideon Sa’ar in Or Yehuda. In his speech, Sa’ar called for exercising sovereignty over Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley, and for building new Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem.
Sa'ar also said aliyah to Israel needs to return to the national agenda. He called for more to be done to ease bureaucracy to help absorb immigrants from Western countries.
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