Ofir Akunis: Blue and White's behavior is wrong and destructive

Likud Minister wonders why Blue and White is behaving irresponsibly and refusing to join a unity government.

Nitsan Keidar ,

Ofir Akunis
Ofir Akunis
Minister Akunis' office

Minister of Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services Ofir Akunis (Likud) on Sunday called on the Blue and White party to come to its senses and recognize the huge challenge posed by the coronavirus crisis.

"There is no unity government or emergency government because Blue and White do not come to the negotiations with clean hands. They do not cease to try to establish Knesset committees without an agreement, something which has never happened in all the years of the Israeli Knesset," Akunis told Arutz Sheva in an interview.

"They are recklessly trying, despite the fact that they know that the coalition agreement that is being formulated allows the Prime Minister to reserve the Finance Ministry and the position of Speaker of the Knesset for a member of his party, to replace Yuli Edelstein and appoint a member of Yesh Atid to that role. Readers understand the difference between a Knesset Speaker from Yesh Atid and a Knesset Speaker from the Israel Resilience party and this is unacceptable to us,” he added.

“I think this behavior of Blue and White is unfortunate, wrong, destructive, and further distances the idea of a unity government. It doesn't close the door [on such an option], because we're interested in it, but it certainly distances it,” said Akunis.

"I think the state needs this at a time when it really is going through an emergency the likes of which we have not known, it is not a security crisis but a different kind of event. In my opinion, at this time it is appropriate to unite forces. Unfortunately, there are elements in Blue and White who are not currently interested in unity and who do not understand the importance of the matter. They are mainly led by the Yesh Atid faction. I hope that in the coming days we can return to an outline or at least hold talks to get as close as possible to the same unity government," he continued.

In his opinion, the Likud and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu were very generous in their proposals to Blue and White. "After all, it was the Likud who won the election and not by a small margin. The ones who violated their commitment to the public are Blue and White, who pledged not to sit with the Joint List. They need to draw conclusions in general about the future of the state and also think politically about whether breaking their promise will work in their favor particularly if, God forbid, we reach a fourth election."

Minister Akunis also discussed the crisis in the labor market and the rising unemployment rates due to the coronavirus pandemic. "We need to see where we are going this week. We need to see if there will be a decrease in the demands to receive unemployment, both for those who were sent on unpaid leave as well as those who were fired. As this crisis comes to an end and we overcome the coronavirus and the public is attentive to instructions, we will return to a situation that is closer to what the economy was before the crisis broke out. After all, the goal of the government is not to limit anymore, but on the contrary - to start a process where we ease the guidelines. Of course, this depends on the full cooperation of the entire public, in all sectors."