Hazan to Netanyahu: Fire Edelstein

MK Oren Hazan calls to oust Knesset Speaker following his criticism of Netanyahu.

Ben Ariel ,

Oren Hazan
Oren Hazan
Hillel Maeir/TPS

MK Oren Hazan (Likud) on Thursday urged Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to oust Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein from his post, after Edelstein's scathing verbal attack on the prime minister following the Independence Day torch-lighting ceremony.

"Prime Minister Netanyahu in the past took his time in dealing with a subversive defense minister, and in the end he adopted my position and ousted the leftist Ya'alon. He must show leadership and stature and put the subversive Edelstein in his place. For a long time now, the Knesset Speaker has been leading a campaign to oust the prime minister through news articles, by sowing lies, incitement and harming the Likud movement and its leader. It’s humiliating and the Likud leadership is burying its head in the sand in the hope that it will pass instead of acting,” said Hazan.

"Unfortunately, Yuli is trying to present himself as a respectable and stately alternative for Netanyahu, while trying to paint him in a negative way. He once said that the prime minister had gone mad, and today he said that he was unreliable and should not be trusted. Edelstein uses the means and methods used by the Russian government against its opponents: lies, sowing fear and disinformation," Hazan added.

"I am sure that if the Israel Police, the State Comptroller, the Attorney General and the other branches of the law would invest just 2% of the effort they invest in the prime minister in examining Edelstein's failures and improper and immoral use of public means and money, Yuli would be long gone by now,” he concluded.

Edelstein and Netanyahu had publicly bickered in the weeks leading up to Israel's 70th anniversary ceremony at Mount Herzl after Netanyahu insisted on speaking at the event. This announcement aroused Edelstein's ire, who was upset at the breach of tradition and said that the Knesset Speaker should be the one giving the keynote speech in order to represent the unity of the people embodied by their elected government.

After Edelstein threatened to boycott the official torch lighting ceremony, an agreement was reached under which Netanyahu would give a short speech before he lit a torch. However, Netanyahu's speech lasted 14 minutes, well past the five minutes he was allotted and infuriating Edelstein, who felt that the prime minister's extended address overshadowed his own.

In an interview with Channel 10 on Thursday evening, Edelstein said that Netanyahu had willfully deceived him and warned that his breach of trust would have far-reaching consequences.

"I remind you that this was not an agreement behind closed doors where it was my word against his," said Edelstein. "There was a written statement about this from the Prime Minister's Office."

"This saga will influence (our relationship)," added Edelstein. "The trust has been damaged. I hold and continue to hold that trust is an important component for a leader. I am accustomed to respecting the agreements I make with my colleagues."

Hazan has had his own issues with Edelstein. In February, he caused an uproar in the Knesset when he called the Knesset Speaker “Stalin”. This occurred after Hazan was suspended from Knesset discussions for six months. Hazan was critical of Edelstein for supporting his suspension while failing to take action against Arab MKs who act against the interests of the State of Israel.