Minister Levin to Arutz Sheva:
'Gantz chooses Lapid over State of Israel'

Minister Levin strongly criticizes Blue and White conduct: 'Lapid's proposal to Netanyahu is poor excuse for refusing emergency government.'

Shimon Cohen ,

Yariv Levin
Yariv Levin
Flash 90

Tourism Minister and coalition negotiator Likud MK Yariv Levin referred sharply to the conduct of Knesset Member Yair Lapid, whom he sees as the key factor preventing an emergency government during a difficult crisis for the people of Israel and the world.

On his party's decision to boycott the voting session for establishing temporary committees in the Knesset, Minister Levin says: "An unprecedented, almost unimaginable event is taking place here. The State of Israel was characterized by times of crisis when we knew how to come together and put the disputes aside. This is the first time such a crisis has occurred. Many are being sent home from their workplaces when there's a serious health crisis and the world's in great turmoil; we encounter unparalleled party behavior, one person, Lapid who, along with Liberman, leads an entire country down the slope because of petty political calculations for inciting hatred, incapable of transcending either the size of the hour or the need of millions of Israeli citizens for a broad and functioning government.

"This is a severe matter when you look at what's happening in the Knesset. This is the first time in the history of the State that there's no agreement on the composition of the regular committee and the composition of the temporary committees. They always came to a consensus. This is the first time, and precisely in this situation, when people from Blue and White come and say they don't care, neither about procedures, rules, nor regulations, nor the situation nor the public's choice to give Likud most seats, nor the fact that the 61 Bloc relies on terror-supporters, and that they cannot form a government because they don't have a majority for that. None of this interests them. They say 'we'll appoint committees where we'll control and we have a majority,' even though the numerical ratio doesn't allow this, because the calculation is done on all committees and not each committee individually. The result of this is disastrous. If we take part in this show in the plenary it will take another two-three hours, but the decision will be the same decision and the impression will be that it is a proper parliamentary procedure and it's wrong that there be such an impression.

"With great grief and pain, I say the right way is to tell them that if this is the way they want to act, this is our protest: We won't participate in this disgraceful game and hope they come to their senses, if not now then later."

On the Likud's decision that replacing the Knesset Speaker will ultimately lead to a fourth election, Minister Levin says it is unequivocal: "The situation in which the Knesset functions as a Knesset as opposed to a government is an impossible reality and certainly not what Israel needs during this difficult time. Keep in mind that even when a virus solution is found, not everything will be resolved overnight and solutions will be needed on many issues, including preparations for the possibility of a virus return, so a broad and functioning government with a Knesset Speaker is needed to help it act and not deliberately impede it.

"Lapid's attempt to place someone on his behalf when he obviously doesn't want a unity government or cooperation, but to bind the government from taking action, is not a situation that can be accepted. If, G-d forbid, we're stuck in this situation there'll remain no choice but to come to elections because the government won't be able to function."

Minister Levin wonders "where are they rushing? If a government arises it would make sense for it to appoint a Knesset Speaker, and therefore stipulate in the bylaws to allow for a period of time to see the composition of the government and then elect the Knesset Speaker, and if a government fails, Lapid can make his move and put in his man for the transition period. There's no reason to do that now."

In his remarks, Minister Levin rejects Lapid's claim that he wants a unity government if only Netanyahu agrees to serve as prime minister second in the rotation. "It's absolutely ridiculous. Even when Lapid said this invention and was asked if he would agree to sit under Netanyahu, he refused to answer, so there's no innovative proposal here that would allow establishment of a government.

"The Right bloc won this election. Netanyahu and the Likud won the largest number of seats. After all, Blue and White's people claimed it was important for them to receive one more seat and the decision was unequivocal. If a government is formed, it will lean on the Right bloc with 58 Knesset Members while on the other side there'll be 47 Knesset Members. There's also logic to government continuity and it makes no sense to place at the height of the crisis at the helm an inexperienced person like Benny Gantz when there's now an experienced prime minister like Netanyahu who manages the crisis superbly. All the reasons in the world indicate that it's a miserable and ridiculous excuse to justify his refusal to do what all Israeli citizens expect. There's no good faith or clean intent here. I suggest putting aside these games and behaviors that may be good for someone in the normal days, but not for the hour we're in now."

On his criticism of Yair Lapid, we asked if indeed Lapid was the forefront when the feeling was that Ya'alon also constituted a considerable obstacle to establishing an emergency government, following what appeared to be personal hatred of Netanyahu who fired him from the office of defense minister.

Levin replies: "Ya'alon turned out to be a man with no values. His conduct is entirely motivated by personal motives. He constantly praised the Prime Minister and his cooperation with him until he was offered the foreign portfolio instead of security and then changed his skin and acted in a form of blind hatred and revenge. To violate the promise of not establishing a government with Joint Arab List support, in his eyes Hiba Yazbak is kosher and Netanyahu isn't. It's insane. But Ya'alon isn't the real weight in Blue and White. The real one in charge is Yair Lapid and if he wanted a unity government it would happen, but since he doesn't want and probably won't, the chance for such a government will diminish because when Gantz has to choose between Israel and Yair Lapid he repeatedly chooses Lapid."

In his remarks, Minister Levin rejects the claims that the Likud is trying to dismantle Blue and White, stating that the proposal placed at Gantz's door was intended to allow him to come with his entire party and even the bloc behind him, without the Joint Arab List, to an emergency government. "But in the end, if Lapid is unable to choose between his personal good and the benefit of the State, Benny Gantz must not also go in the same direction."