yossi sarid 298 88 aj.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
After 32 years at the Knesset, MK Yossi Sarid (Meretz-Yahad) formally announced Friday that he was resigning.
"Everyone is rushing in, but I, out of a compulsive desire to be different, am rushing out," Sarid said wryly at a press party in Tel Aviv on Friday. "Enough is enough."
Sarid said that having analyzed the current political situation, he did not believe he would be in a position to assume once again the role of education minister.
Referring to current Education Minister Limor Livnat, he said that "Hurricane Limor" had devastated the country's education system.
Calling Prime Minister Ariel Sharon "the most corrupt man in Israeli politics," Sarid also said he did not believe he would be able "to cleanse the filthy stables of corruption" following elections.
Nevertheless, asked whether Meretz should join a coalition led by Sharon following elections, Sarid said he believed it was necessary to wait patiently and decide about joining the coalition or the opposition based on the political situation that would be created following the elections.
"This is the worst Knesset I have ever sat in," Sarid added. "I hate to sound nostalgic, because it makes me sound old, but there is no doubt that many more rotten apples have been shoved into the parliamentary crate during this Knesset than during any other.
"You no longer know who is whom, what they represent, who is pulling their strings, which interests they serve," he said.
"There are too many people in this Knesset and government who have already passed through, or may well pass through, one or another police station," Sarid said. "I've already noticed that anyone who leaves a police station immediately appears on the list of candidates for prime minister."
Sarid also said that there were new people appearing on the political scene that seemed worthy to him, but refused to name any names.
"The problem isn't how you enter politics but how you persist in the public sphere and exist from it," he said. "The most important thing is that I am leaving politics wearing the same shirt in which I entered, and which has remained unblemished by any stains."
Asked whether he had considered joining the Labor Party, Sarid replied: "I was never up for sale at the horse market, and I was never bought.
"I quickly understood that the cow - that is, Labor - did not want to nurse and that the calf - that is, Meretz - did not want to nurse, and that there would be no coming together of the two," Sarid also said.
Speaking of current Meretz-Yahad chair Yossi Beilin, Sarid said that like every party chair, he was functioning under difficult conditions.
While noting that recent polls have not been flattering to Meretz, Sarid said that "chairing a party is difficult regardless of its size," and that "under these difficult conditions, Beilin is doing his best."
Asked how his resignation would influence voters, he said he did not believe it would leave a lasting impression. "Four months are an eternity during an Israeli election campaign. By the time people make up their minds, they will have forgotten about me."
Sarid said his future plans included spending more time with his family, - the only people, he said, he consulted with seriously about his resignation - teaching and writing poetry, prose, and political commentaries.
"Luckily, I have other means of speaking out that are not dependent on a seat in the Knesset, and I will certainly continue to make my voice heard," Sarid said.