Ayelet Shaked: Netanyahu’s grudge against me hurts national interest

Ayelet Shaked held a press conference during which she said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "and those around him do not want" the Yamina party.

Yamina leader Ayelet Shaked speaks at a press conference. (photo credit: EHUD AMITON/TPS)
Yamina leader Ayelet Shaked speaks at a press conference.
(photo credit: EHUD AMITON/TPS)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is punishing the whole Right over a grudge against Ayelet Shaked, the Yamina chairwoman said on Sunday.
“I was never dragged into this personal dispute,” she said at a news conference. “The ideological Right deserves much more. I won’t let the grudge Netanyahu and those who surround him have against me hurt the country.”
Shaked recounted that in coalition talks in the past few elections, Netanyahu sought out other partners for the Likud before Yamina’s previous incarnations. She pointed out that in the last few days before Election Day in 2015 and April 2019, Netanyahu tried to convince her voters to move to Likud, in what has been named the “gevalt” campaign after the Yiddish expression of alarm.
“I ask right-wing voters and religious-Zionists: Why does Netanyahu always try to run over our party?” Shaked said. “Why doesn’t he attack Shas... UTJ... [Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor] Liberman, who moved to the Left? Netanyahu and those around him do not want us. They want to act against the will of the nationalist camp. They are motivated by a personal hatred that I do not understand to this day. I know the country is important to Netanyahu, but there is something beyond that.”
Shaked did not go into specific reasons, saying that gossiping is not her way. However when Netanyahu was opposition leader and she and Yamina candidate Naftali Bennett were his top aides, they left on bad terms, in part in a dispute over money and the involvement of Netanyahu’s wife, Sara Netanyahu, in office matters.
The Yamina leader said she ignored the apparent grudge against her to try to work for the people of Israel, but “they always tried to prevent me from succeeding, even though my success is the success of the whole nationalist camp.”
Shaked brought up a recently leaked recording of a phone conversation between Netanyahu and then-communications minister Ayoub Kara, in which the prime minister verbally abused the latter for working with Shaked on a reform that saved the right-wing and pro-Netanyahu Channel 20 from being shut down.
Shaked came out against Netanyahu’s claim – which he repeated in the many media interviews he gave over the weekend – that Likud has to be the biggest party in order for there to be a right-wing government.
Rather, she said, Yamina has to be big enough to ensure Netanyahu needs it in his coalition, in order to represent the positions of the ideological Right.
“The Land of Israel is in danger,” she warned. “The only reason Netanyahu is attacking us is that he wants to see the most ideological Right-wing list, religious Zionists, being small, pathetic and not influential. We said again and again that we will only recommend the nationalist camp candidate for prime minister, and that is Netanyahu. So stop the cannibalization within the [Right-wing] bloc.”