Ayelet Shaked
Ayelet ShakedKobi Richter, TPS

Former Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (New Right) blamed the center-left Blue and White party and its leaders for Israel's upcoming elections - the country's third in less than a year.

In an interview with Israel Hayom, Shaked said, "The blame rests with Blue and White. I don't understand why they didn't accept the President's Compromise. It's really unthinkable. None of the issues being argued was crucial."

"Blue and White were already willing to sit together with the entire right-religious bloc. They had a problem with the principle of sitting under an indicted prime minister, but the President's Compromise solved that problem."

Shaked also said that she did everything possible to prevent new elections.

"I tried to do everything I could, everything in my not-so-great power to prevent elections," she said. "I sat for a few conversations with Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) and Benny Gantz (Blue and White) to try and convince them that [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu will keep the agreement and there is no chance in the world that he won't, because of all the guarantees that he and the entire bloc gave them."

The fact that Israel needs to hold a third round of elections, she said, "is absolutely horrible."

"This is the first time that I'm embarrassed to be a politician. This is the political system doing real damage to the public. Because the legal system paralyzed the temporary governments, people are seriously suffering now. The health system is suffering due to a lack of funds, the nonprofit sector is suffering and because of that a lot of organizations are not receiving their budgets."

A poll conducted last week and published on Kipa showed that if primaries for a united National Religious party were held Shaked, would win first place with 84% support, ahead of Defense Minister Naftali Bennett (New Right), Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich (Jewish Home-National Union) and Education Minister Rabbi Rafi Peretz (Jewish Home-National Union).

When asked if she supports the creation of a united religious party, Shaked said, "We need to see what's more correct to do, if we should go for a single religious list like we did in the previous elections, with Yamina, or if we should go with two separate lists in order to enlarge the bloc. I certainly tend towards supporting the idea of a single large list, and in the coming days we'll need to make a decision on the issue."

When asked if she was frustrated at having gone from the powerful position of Justice Minister to being a rank-and-file MK, Shaked said, "Political life is like a wheel. Anyone who is in politics needs to know that it's a marathon. There are periods that are better and there are periods which aren't so good. I could have been a minister after Netanyahu offered us two portfolios or the Defense Ministry. I preferred that Bennett take the Defense Ministry, because it seems to me to be more important. Especially after I was Justice Minister and had a lot of influence, I can't let it go to my head, I can go back to being an MK because all parliamentary work is serious and important."

Warning of the potential outcome of the third elections, Shaked concluded: "I am very worried about the future of the right-wing government. We're in the midst of elections which are really not simple at all. We will do everything in order to ensure that the right remains in power."