Rivlin: Sara Netanyahu nixed Knesset Speaker job

Former Knesset Speaker Rivlin hints in Channel 10 interview that PM's wife was behind the decision to deny him post.

March 28, 2013 16:31
2 minute read.
Likud MK Reuven Rivlin

Rivlin 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)


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Sara Netanyahu was involved in preventing MK Reuven Rivlin (Likud Beytenu) from being reelected, the former Knesset speaker hinted on Wednesday night.

“It seems to me that there were three people who apparently didn’t want me for the job: The head of Yisrael Beytenu, for his reasons, the prime minister, and a third person, who is a person that is always involved, but behind the scenes. I’m not getting into gossip,” Rivlin said in an interview with Channel 10 reporter Raviv Drucker.

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Sources close to Rivlin clarified that he meant the prime minister’s wife.

A week ago, Rivlin made comments to Army Radio that could be interpreted the same way: “I don’t think the prime minister took my criticism of him personally, but I’m not talking about his family.”

According to sources close to Rivlin, Sara Netanyahu was dissatisfied with his performance as speaker of the previous Knesset, and saw his attempts at neutrality as flattery towards the opposition in order to gain support ahead of the 2013 presidential election.

Rivlin’s voice trembled on Wednesday as he described his relationship with the prime minister, saying he was very disappointed because he felt tricked by Netanyahu, who was his friend.

“When I would call the prime minister with doubts because of rumors, he would say to me: ‘How many times do I have to promise you, Rubi?’ Other good friends would visit me at the Knesset Speaker’s Office and say clearly ‘who else would he choose, why would the party hurt itself?’” Rivlin said.

The former Knesset speaker said he and the prime minister have been friends since childhood and that Netanyahu even told Rivlin’s wife that Rivlin was one of the only people he can trust.

“He gave us a good feeling, and I don’t think he was bluffing,” the Likud MK said.

“It’s not nice to mislead friends. It just isn’t nice.”

The reasoning that Rivlin would use his position as Knesset Speaker inappropriately to promote his candidacy for president is “insulting,” he said, and pointed out that he ran for president in 2007 at Netanyahu’s request.

Rivlin also said that he had stopped bills that could be embarrassing for Netanyahu, and that the prime minister had thanked him for doing so.

“What hurt me most, much more than the fact that I was removed from my position – and I see it as a dismissal – is that my friends [in the Likud] did not get up and say even one word in my favor,” Rivlin said of the faction meeting in which Yuli Edelstein was elected Knesset Speaker.

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