MK Kahana: 'Just not Bibi' campaign sent Yamina voters to Likud

Yamina took just six seats in the latest election representing a nadir in the political representation of the religious-Zionist community not seen since 2003.

MK Matan Kahana (photo credit: AVISHAG SHAAR-YASHUV)
MK Matan Kahana
(photo credit: AVISHAG SHAAR-YASHUV)
Yamina MK Matan Kahana said on Wednesday that the party’s poor performance in the general election in which it appears it will take just six seats was due to the overarching issue of the ballot – whether or not the electorate wanted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to continue in office.
“In elections when the question is ‘yes Bibi or no Bibi,’ all other ideas were washed away by the tsunami of voters who wanted to express themselves on this issue,” Kahana told The Jerusalem Post.
The MK said that without that factor, it would have been far easier to convince the religious-Zionist public to vote for the religious-Zionist party.
And Kahana added that the path of a broader, national right-wing party without an explicitly religious-Zionist identity, which party leader and current Defense Minister Naftali Bennett chose when he established the New Right Party, was also not viable under such conditions.
The MK also rejected criticism that Yamina had been too accommodating of Netanyahu and his attacks against the religious-Zionist party, and not willing enough to criticize Netanyahu’s policies, saying that the prime minister’s path was what his party believed in.
“We think Bibi is a good prime minister, we want him to continue, that is our truth,” he said.
Kahana also rejected any notion of ousting Netanyahu so that a unity government can be formed to avoid fourth elections giving the apparent stalemate the most recent election will once again create.
“Israeli democracy shows that half the people want Bibi. If Blue and White were to demand a unity government without Bibi that in my eyes is not democratic, because half the people want him, and it will drag us to fourth elections,” he said.
“Yamina will only go with the Likud and Bibi,” Kahana averred.
He also rejected claims that it is not fitting for a serving prime minister to be on trial.
“Half the people said they want Bibi despite what they know about him, and the law allows him to continue to serve. Netanyahu has faced excessive enforcement and legal persecution that no other politician experiences and therefore we should adhere to the law which allows him to serve.”
Blue and White is currently examining ways to pass legislation that would prohibit a prime minister from serving in office while on trial.
The Knesset legal adviser said on Wednesday that the Knesset does not customarily convene between elections and the swearing in of a new Knesset, and therefore said that “personal” legislation, meaning a law aimed at a particular individual could not be advanced “at this time.”
Bennett and senior Yamina MK Ayelet Shaked strongly denounced Blue and White for considering such a law, and strongly backed Netanyahu to continue serving as prime minister.