(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Sara Netanyahu was involved in preventing MK Reuven Rivlin (Likud Beytenu) from being reelected as Knesset Speaker, Rivlin hinted on Wednesday night.
"A third person who is involved behind the scenes" did not want him for the job, Rivlin says, describing personal insult he felt from PM and Likud members.
"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.
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 understood 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 attempts to flatter the opposition in order to gain support ahead of the presidential election next year.
Rivlin's voice trembled as he described his relationship with the prime minister on Wednesday, saying he is very disappointed because he felt that was tricked by Netanyahu, who was his friend.
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"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 recounted.
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 is 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 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 new Knesset Speaker.
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