Deri: We need to be flexible, the government must not be toppled

Interior Minister calls for a compromise in crisis over the budget.

Ben Ariel ,

Aryeh Deri
Aryeh Deri
Adina Wallman, Knesset Spokesperson

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri warned on Monday that the political system must not go to elections over the budget crisis.

"The people of Israel will never forgive us if we go to elections. The people do not understand and want us to work together," Deri said in an interview with Channel 12 News.

"I am talking to everyone and trying to find compromises. We must overcome this. This is a broad government that we worked hard to establish. It must continue," the minister added.

"We are doing what we can to find a compromise between the two approaches regarding the budget. Everyone needs to be flexible, a government cannot be toppled over such an issue," continued Deri. He declined to answer whether he supports a one-year or two-year budget.

Deri noted that the discussions about the possibility of forming a narrow government are not realistic. "No one talked to me about this. I do not think there is anyone who is seriously thinking about it at this time."

In addition, Deri commented on the criticism of the decision to bring thousands of yeshiva students from the United States into Israel, along with students, immigrants and Jews from the Diaspora, precisely at a time when the coronavirus pandemic is at its peak.

"Out of the 17,000 people who will come, 4,000 are yeshiva students. The rest are students who come as part of the Masa organization and the universities, ulpanot, hesder yeshivot."

"The State of Israel is the national home of all Jews in the world. A mother does not tell her children that ‘I have no strength to welcome you’. We continue to welcome everyone. These students have one opportunity in life to come to Israel. It is our best tool to fight assimilation," Deri said.

The Yisrael Beytenu party attacked Deri following the interview and said, "Unlike Deri, Yisrael Beytenu is concerned that the citizens of Israel will be forced into a lockdown. This may happen due to the irresponsible conduct and sectoral interests of the haredi parties."

"The Jews who immigrate from the former Soviet Union, who serve in the IDF, participate in reserve duty, work and pay taxes, are more Jewish as far as we’re concerned than all the yeshiva students who have never worked or served in the IDF and live on state benefits," the party said in a statement.

Meretz chairman, MK Nitzan Horowitz, also criticized the minister and said, "Deri is taking advantage of his position as Interior Minister to manage the policy of entry into Israel according to dark criteria of religious discrimination. The government here will not abuse people and prevent them from reuniting with their families, while allowing non-Israeli yeshiva students into Israel, under pressure from the haredi parties."