Deri: Likud asked for help forming government without PM

Interior Min., Shas chairman, says: 'Senior Likud officials asked me to help form government without Netanyahu.'

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Deri: 'Going down'
Deri: 'Going down'
Flash 90

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, who chairs the Sephardic-haredi Shas party, said that just before the Knesset dissolved itself three months ago, senior Likud officials asked him to help them form a government without Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, News 12 reported Monday night.

"There was enormous pressure on us - why should we hold new elections? Let's ask the President to task someone else with [forming a government] - from the Likud, from a different place. Netanyahu didn't manage, so fine, we're done, let him wait, he can stand off to the side," Deri said.

Deri, who asked his rabbis to help him increase Shas' party at the Likud's expense, said: "Senior Likud officials came to me, and other parties said, 'Why are you supporting him until the end?' They tried to examine me, to persuade me, 'Come, there's no need to follow through till the end.' But I told them: 'Friends, it's unthinkable. The public wants Netanyahu, we held elections and we said Netanyahu, we can't just choose [someone else] because [Yisrael Beytenu Chairman MK Avigdor] Liberman decided to replace Netanyahu, so now we'll tell Netanyahu, 'Okay, you did your part, go home.'"

Regarding his attempts to increase Shas' power, Deri said: "I have no doubt that if Shas had 12 Knesset seats, it would be a lot more important to Netanyahu and the Likud than another seat or two for the Likud."

Maariv pointed out that on Tuesday, Netanyahu posted a video to Facebook refuting Shas' campaign to "vote for Shas in order to support Netanyahu."

"You can't vote twice, for Shas and Netanyahu. Vote only for the Likud," the video says.