Amsalem accuses Netanyahu of discriminating against mizrahim

Amsalem was not offered either of the positions he demanded from Netanyahu, Justice Minister or Knesset speaker.

 MK Dudi Amsalem reacts during a plenum session at the assembly hall of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, on December 19, 2022.  (photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)
MK Dudi Amsalem reacts during a plenum session at the assembly hall of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, on December 19, 2022.
(photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discriminated against members of the Likud originally from Arab-speaking countries (“mizrahim”) in his distribution of jobs in the government and Knesset, MK David (Dudi) Amsalem charged on Friday in a discussion with Likud activists outside his home in Ma’ale Adumim.

“No one will ever disgrace Dudi Amsalem. It isn’t just Dudi Amsalem, but a disgrace of all of the ‘Amsalems’ and the ‘Bitans’ [reference to Likud MK David Bitan]. Not in our party, of which we [mizrahim] are 70%,” Amsalem is seen saying in a video.

Amsalem was not offered either of the positions he demanded, either justice minister or Knesset speaker. He turned down other offers, and is reportedly furious.

“Most of the Likud are Bitans and Amsalems, and we need to apologize for coming in fourth place [in the Likud primary]? This is an enormous and unprecedented ingratitude by the prime minister, and I told him so,” Amsalem said, adding that he would not accept that mizrahim were seen as “second rate” party members.

“But the nation of Israel is more important than Dudi Amsalem and the Likud, and therefore we will continue to work for the nation of Israel,” he added.

 THERE IS no reason to disbelieve the Right’s firebrands, including Likud MK Dudi Amsalem, when they now openly speak of what is planned, says the writer (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90) THERE IS no reason to disbelieve the Right’s firebrands, including Likud MK Dudi Amsalem, when they now openly speak of what is planned, says the writer (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)

David Bitan

MK David Bitan, who Amsalem referred to, criticized Netanyahu publicly throughout the coalition negotiation process, arguing that the Likud had conceded too much to its partners.

Bitan was appointed chairman of the Knesset Economy Committee, after the position was first offered to a different Likud MK. He has not publicly criticized Netanyahu since the appointment.

Bitan was not the only one critical of Netanyahu that the prime minister reportedly attempted to appease. Netanyahu gave MK Haim Katz the position of tourism minister, and gave Israel Katz the position of energy minister – but with a rotation into the position of foreign minister after a year.

Other disgruntled MKs include May Golan, to whom Netanyahu publicly promised a position in the Prime Minister’s Office as deputy minister. However, she did not receive the position since Netanyahu promised it to four different MKs, while the law only allows for two deputies.

Finally, MK Danny Danon criticized Netanyahu, reportedly unhappy that he was not appointed to a cabinet ministry.

Channel 12 said on Saturday evening that Amsalem and several other MKs were planning to fully support Justice Minister Yariv Levin’s judicial reforms – and will block any attempt by Netanyahu to soften them.

Netanyahu has not spoken publicly since Levin announced the reform on Wednesday night and spoke very little about it during the election campaign. He reportedly does not see eye-to-eye with Levin and may attempt to change the reform so that it is not as damaging to the High Court.