Yishai: 'I stayed strong in my faith' against 'media lynch'

Interior minister claims media agenda against him for role in Carmel fires; meeting with Livni delayed 1 month due to time constraints.

Eli Yishai 311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Eli Yishai 311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
"The meeting with the opposition leader [Tzipi Livni] that took place yesterday was supposed to happen a while ago, but it was put off because of time constraints," Interior Minister Eli Yishai explained in an interview with Army Radio Thursday. Yishai said he had been slammed with criticism for the Carmel fires, though receiving some support from families of fire victims.
"The meeting with Tzipi Livni was planned for a month ago. We had not met in some time, and our meeting was not related to the Labor party split," Yishai said. "We only met yesterday because our appointment kept getting postponed due to time constraints."
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'Eli Yishai has to pay for the Carmel fire'
Yishai went on to explain the criticisms surrounding his role in the Carmel fires that raged at the beginning of December last year. "I requested that the prime minister establish an investigative committee the morning after the Carmel fire. It was clear to me that we needed a thorough investigation of the situation. I also realized that I, more than any other minister, was the first to agree to passing a fire-response budget without bogging the issue down in money reform. In the funds did not pass because of the government, or the ministry," he stressed.
Yishai told that he sought council with Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. "He said to me 'what do they want from you?' and bestowed me with great warmth," Yishai explained.
"I stayed strong in my faith, like is necessary in the most turbulent of moments, and I decided that I would remain a public servant. It was written in the Talmud 2,000 years ago that a man would go into his public service knowingly facing humiliation."
The interior minister added that in parallel with the harsh reactions that that were widely covered by the media following the memorial ceremony in Beit Oren, he also received positive reactions from some families of the tragically deceased.
"After the event, some family members called me and told me that they tried unify themselves with me, to bring me support, but the event security stopped them in their tracks, thinking they desired to harm me," he said, "in my life I never received such support."
According to Yishai, "The media lynching that was carried out against me was not only connected to my role in the Carmel fires, but also my agenda to keep a Jewish majority in Israel against the influx foreign workers; it was connected to the fact that I work within the framework of a right-wing political movement; and there are even those who have claimed that it is because I am mizrahi.
"I am strengthened by the Israeli citizens who recognize my innocence," Yishai added.