Deri: 'I won't join a government without the right-wing bloc'

Interior Min. Deri says right-wing bloc strong and stable, joining Blue and White-led government not an option.

103FM ,

Aryeh Deri
Aryeh Deri
Esty Dazyubov, TPS

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas) on Tuesday expressed hope that the center-left Blue and White party will split apart.

In an interview with 103 FM Radio, Deri said, "Not only will they not take two of our Knesset seats, I am convinced that our bloc will grow and then the other side, [Blue and White Chairman MK Benny] Gantz and his friends, will understand that there is no other option, they have to separate from [Blue and White leader MK Yair] Lapid and join us."

The right-religious bloc is strong and stable, he emphasized. "I am convinced of it. I held long conversations with [Yamina Chairman, Defense Minister Naftali] Bennett on this issue. They understand that if the bloc is not strong and does not grow, then immediately following the elections we will have a government with Blue and White, Meretz, Labor, and [Yisrael Beytenu Chairman MK Avigdor] Liberman, with the support in absence or the active support of some of the Joint Arab List."

Deri also said that he will not join a government without the other right-wing parties: "We will not join a government without the Likud and all members of our bloc. We will not join a government made of the center and left, even if we receive everything in the world. We think that such a government is very dangerous to the Land of Israel, the Torah of Israel, and Judaism."

"Thank G-d I was not in the government which approved the Oslo Accords," he added. "On the day the government approved Oslo, I opposed it and quit." He also emphasized that former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin "did not say a single word against a Jewish state or Judaism, he kept the status quo. The politics were completely different."

"Should I be a partner in a government after Lapid said yesterday that he would love to sit with Liberman because they share basic principles? When they attack anything connected to Judaism? How can you sit with them at all? I won't sit with such a thing.

Regarding the upcoming elections, scheduled for March 2, Deri said: "What happened in the past year is that they've confused us. In April Liberman yelled 'Bibi Netanyahu!' and we were all convinced, no one dreamed that the right-wing bloc would not form a government, so we were indifferent. Despite the fact that Bennett and [Moshe] Feiglin did not make it, we had 65 Knesset seats. But unfortunately Liberman did not go with us. We did not foresee the amount of hatred and revenge on Netanyahu. The second time, they said 'only a unity government' and that was Libermans' campaign."

However, despite his campaign promises, Liberman "torpedoed a unity government," Deri explained. "Do you have any doubt of it? Do you want me to prove it to you? I'm telling you, on my word, that he torpedoed it. Gantz did too, and so did [Blue and White leader MK Gabi] Ashkenazi, and everyone knows that the ones who torpedoed the unity government were Lapid and Liberman. For the first time, there were two very clear blocs. Everyone signed that they will not negotiate or join any government unless it was headed by [Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu. On the other hand, there is Blue and White's bloc, Liberman, Meretz, and the Joint Arab List by absence."

When asked about his previously-close relationship with Liberman, Deri said: "I'm not getting into it, why does it interest the public? The public is very afraid, they understand that there really is a danger that G-d forbid a left-wing government might be formed. A government that our voters are very afraid of. And that's what's important right now. What does it matter what happened between Liberman and myself?"