Outspoken MK Anastassia Michaeli (Yisrael Beytenu) announced on Monday evening that she will not be running for the Knesset in January’s election.
"Following the many calls received by my office, I announce that I will not run in the elections for the 19th Knesset for personal reasons," Michaeli wrote on her Facebook page.
However, despite Michaeli’s statement that she is not running for “personal reasons”, it is believed that she chose to announce she’s not running after understanding that Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Lieberman is not planning to place her in a realistic spot on the party’s Knesset list.
Michaeli raised Lieberman’s ire several times during the term of the last Knesset. In one incident, in a stormy session of the Knesset's Education Committee, Michaeli threw water at MK Raleb Majadle (Labor) after he used harsh language against her when she said that an Arab school principal in the village of Arara undermined the state by taking his pupils to take part in a leftist march in Tel Aviv.
The Knesset Ethics Committee later suspended Michaeli from the Knesset for a month over the water incident.
In a second incident during a debate on sexual harassment in the Knesset's Committee for the Advancement of Women, Michaeli said that her children were exposed to homosexuality-promoting content on Channel 10. She also tried to offer an explanation of why some people become homosexual.
“I think that most homosexuals are guys who undergo a very traumatic experience of sexual harassment from a very young age, and it gets worse with time,” she said, adding, “We should cooperate with those homosexuals because they are suffering. In the end they wind up committing suicide at age 40, and they are the same guys who want to be women and they are indeed women. There should be more consciousness of this. There should be a campaign with professionals and psychologists.”
Foreign Minister Lieberman was reportedly unhappy with Michaeli’s outbursts and thus decided to place her in an unrealistic spot on Yisrael Beytenu’s Knesset list, which will run together with the Likud.
Lieberman will announce his party’s Knesset list on Tuesday and it is believed that he will place Yair Shamir, son of the late former Prime Minister Yitzchak Shamir, in second place.
Under the unity agreement between Yisrael Beytenu and the Likud, Lieberman will be placed in the second spot on the joint list, and the members of his party will receive every third spot after that, meaning they will occupy spots 5, 8, 11, 14 and so on.
An official with the Power to Israel party, headed by MKs Aryeh Eldad and Michael Ben-Ari, told Arutz Sheva on Monday night that the party had held talks with Michaeli recently in order to have her run with Power to Israel.
“As far as we’re concerned Michaeli is a fit with the line of Power to Israel, that works against MKs Tibi and Zoabi and calls for absolute loyalty by all citizens of Israel,” the official said.
"We offered Anastassia a realistic spot on our list and the offer still stands,” added the official. “Whether or not she takes the offer it is now clear that the only people who can speak Arabic are the members of Power to Israel.”