Orly Levy-Abekasis
Orly Levy-AbekasisKobi Richter/TPS

Gesher chairwoman Orly Levy-Abekasis was interviewed on Friday on Channel 12’s Ofira and Berkovic program and discussed her announcement this week that she would not support the establishment of a narrow minority government that is backed by the predominantly Arab Joint List party.

"Anyone who claims that Amir Peretz is surprised or was surprised does not know the relationship between us. My views were known to Amir Peretz all along, I put them on the table and said them three days before the elections right here in your studio," she said.

"I said I would not sit in a government supported by the voices of these leaders who support terrorism. When I signed on to this union (with the Meretz party -ed.), I placed an emphasis on the independence of Gesher so as not to be dragged down by other people's plans. I determined that there would be total freedom of voting on all issues."

"They, too, knew, after all they signed onto this contract with me having voting independence on all issues, especially on issues of security. There is a great difference between me and Meretz, between Gesher and Meretz. We said it all along and we had research and surveys that showed that this union would turn voters away,” said Levy-Abekasis.

When asked about those claiming she betrayed voters, she replied, "I think that is insolence. I, unlike everyone else, said I thought it was a mistake."

As for the alliance with Meretz, Levy-Abekasis said that, as far as she is concerned, that alliance is now over.

"We said it was a technical alliance, that the day after the elections we will separate. Amir Peretz was not surprised, two days after the elections I was in his office and told him that, as we promised, it should be put on the table that it was a technical alliance with Meretz and that, as far as I’m concerned, the alliance with Meretz was over. He has the right to decide what he wants."

"Just a month ago, both Gesher and Blue and White supported the request to disqualify Heba Yazbak’s candidacy because of her very harsh statements. To now tell these people that ‘the state or government will be in your hands for every decision and vote?’ I think it's irresponsible," Levy-Abekasis explained. “There are moments in life, both of politicians and of people in general, when a person says: 'When there are no others to do the deed, maybe I have to stop the madness.' I have no problem with the Arab citizens of the state, I think they should be dealt with on all social issues. The gaps between the periphery and the center widen when we talk about the Arab communities."

She denied the rumors that her brother, former Likud MK Jackie Levy, cut a deal with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in exchange for her saying she would not support a government backed by the Arab parties.

“Anyone who says this is rude and he downgrades me as a woman. If anyone thinks that anyone from my family intervenes in my political views, he is mistaken. Does anyone think the alliance I made was liked by my family? Of course not, only a fool would think it was.”

Asked whether she would recommend to the President that Binyamin Netanyahu be tasked with the formation of the government, Levy-Abekasis replied, "This is not an ordinary time. It is time to realize that we need a national emergency government. I tell the two leaders to sit down together, find the solution and put all the issues aside.”

In conclusion, Levy-Abekasis sharply criticized Health Minister Yaakov Litzman’s handling of the coronavirus crisis.

"It is a shame that the State of Israel was not prepared for such events. The procedures are being made as we go along, which means there was no contingency plan and preparation in a country that has many risks. I'm quite shocked that we didn't know how to act and there was no working plan."

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)