Blue and White saves Yifat Shasha-Biton from being sanctioned 'deserter'

Being labeled a "deserter" would mean she could not take party funding with her to Gideon Sa'ar's New Hope Party.

MK Yifat Shasha-Biton attends the Knesset House Committee, December 28, 2020 (photo credit: KNESSET SPOKESPERSON/DANI SHEM TOV)
MK Yifat Shasha-Biton attends the Knesset House Committee, December 28, 2020
An effort by Likud to declare MK Yifat Shasha-Biton a “deserter” because she joined prime ministerial candidate Gideon Sa’ar’s new New Hope Party failed on Monday because Blue and White MKs blocked the move in the Knesset House Committee.
Shasha-Biton entered the Knesset with former finance minister Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu Party. She was given a slot on the Likud list as part of a merger agreement between Likud and Kulanu.
After she announced she was joining New Hope, Likud faction chairman Miki Zohar asked the House Committee to rule that she had deserted Likud and therefore could not take party funding with her. Losing Shasha-Biton’s funding would have been a blow to New Hope, which would have been left with only the funding from the Derech Eretz Party of MKs Yoaz Hendel and Zvi Hauser.
Shasha-Biton said her agreement with Likud was only for the current Knesset and not the next one, and she did not break it. Likud MKs said her vote against the proposal to extend the deadline to pass the state budget, which could have prevented early elections, proved otherwise.
“What you are doing is bullying,” Shasha-Biton told Zohar.
House Committee chairman Eitan Ginzburg, who is the faction chairman of Blue and White, supported Shasha-Biton. MKs have the right to defect to other parties during an election campaign, he said.
Blue and White’s representatives on the committee include MKs who are looking for new political homes.
When Zohar realized he did not have the support of Blue and White, he withdrew his request.
Sa’ar expressed outrage at the Likud for encouraging its haredi (ultra-Orthodox) coalition partners to vote against Shasha-Biton.
“This is not a coalition issue,” he said. “This crosses another redline. The Likud once knew to respect proper parliamentary moves.”
Meanwhile, three new Likud MKs, Shevah Stern, Ayoub Kara and Moti Yogev, were sworn in on Monday in the Knesset plenum.
They replaced Ze’ev Elkin, Michal Shir and Sharren Haskel, who quit the Knesset to join the New Hope Party of prime ministerial candidate Sa’ar.
Stern admitted that he bought a suit for the first time since his wedding nearly 40 years ago.
Haskel slammed her former Likud colleague MK Uzi Dayan on Twitter on Monday after Dayan criticized political “betrayals,” referring to Shasha-Biton, who jumped ship from Likud to New Hope but did not quit the Knesset.
“Arguing with an idiot is like playing chess with a pigeon... No matter how good you are, the bird is going to s*** on the board and strut around like it won anyway,” Haskel tweeted.