'Netanyahu Will Have to Fire Peretz'

Political officials believe PM will be forced to dismiss Environment Minister following his tirade during a television interview.

Ido Ben Porat and Ben Ariel,

Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz
Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz
Alex Kolomoisky/Flash 90

Political officials said on Saturday night that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will be forced to dismiss Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz (Hatnua), who announced in a television interview that he intends to vote against the state budget in the Knesset on Monday, thus violating coalition discipline.

The officials believe that Netanyahu may fire Peretz if he indeed goes through with his threat, as a Minister is not permitted to vote against a government decision.

Peretz, who was interviewed on Channel 2, announced earlier he does not intend to remain in Netanyahu’s government, who he said “has reached a point at which he does not prove his right to continue to be prime minister.”

"Netanyahu has brought the state of Israel to a state of despair,” charged Peretz, who declared that he does not intend to vote for the state budget Monday and added, “The ramifications of this are clear. The tactical moves – how I will leave the government and when – I want to [coordinate] with Tzipi Livni.”

He further claimed that Netanyahu is held hostage by the extreme right wing. “He gives extremists legitimacy to continue to set the ground aflame,” Peretz charged. “When I heard the prime minister talking at the memorial ceremony for Rabin, I wanted to get up and leave. I stayed only out of respect for the event.”

Coalition Chairman MK Ze'ev Elkin (Likud) reacted to Peretz's announcement and said that Peretz is “well acquainted with the rules of the political game. If he does not want to be a member of the government, it is not difficult to obtain the fax number of the Prime Minister's Bureau, to send a letter of resignation.”

Deputy Minister Ofir Akunis (Likud) responded to the remarks and said that Peretz crossed a line and Netanyahu should fire him.

"Slander by a minister against a prime minister, of whose government he is a member, are not only rudeness and lack of Derech Eretz, but also moral dishonesty of the highest order. It would be best if he does not threaten to resign - but is fired," said Akunis.

Deputy Minister of Religious Services, Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan (Jewish Home), responded to Peretz’s comments as well, saying that "if the problem is lack of a pen and paper or in typing the letter - we can help him out. If you want to leave, leave - do not threaten."

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