Former Minister Yoaz Hendel: It's not the court's fault, it's Netanyahu's fault

Former Communications Minister visits Arutz Sheva’s studio in Jerusalem, criticizes Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu over a host of issues.

Yoni Kempinski ,

Yoaz Hendel at Arutz Sheva studio
Yoaz Hendel at Arutz Sheva studio
Arutz Sheva

Former Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel (New Hope) was a guest in Arutz Sheva’s studio in Jerusalem on Thursday and criticized Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu over a host of issues.

On the Supreme Court ruling recognizing Reform and Conservative conversions, Hendel said this is a classic case of lack of decision-making, as was evident in other issues that have been mishandled by the Netanyahu government.

"We support the outline proposed by former MK Moshe Nissim. So what if there are certain disagreements on the part of the haredim? But Netanyahu, as usual, chose not to do anything. It reminds me of the Netiv Ha’avot neighborhood where the state also did not want to make a decision and then the Supreme Court decided for them, and what do they then do? They blame the Supreme Court. This is reminiscent of almost every issue in Israel that they do not want to decide on," said Hendel.

He said he saw the same thing on the issue of illegal construction in the Negev, in which it was decided not to decide whether to accept the Begin outline, "and since then there have been another 4,000 illegal buildings a year. When they do not decide, it is the worst decision. It is not the fault of the Supreme Court. It is Netanyahu's fault."

Hendel continued to point an accusing finger at Netanyahu also on the issue of the overall conduct in the face of the court. "Every time he identifies a real challenge to the future of the State of Israel, he ignores it and lets others deal with it. The results are reflected in the lack of governance in the Negev and the Galilee."

He explained that when he speaks of sovereignty and governance, he is not only talking about Judea and Samaria but about the entire country. "I want us first of all to solve the problems here," he said, referring to the views of New Hope member Benny Begin on the justice system. Hendel said that others such as Bezalel Smotrich have spoken a lot about judicial reforms but did not take any practical steps. The same goes for Netanyahu, who only started being concerned with the legal system when his own legal issues began, argued Hendel.

"I do not believe in the term ‘full-fledged right’, because if full-fledged right means losing security in the Negev and the Galilee, losing governance in southern Tel Aviv and losing land throughout the country...I give Netanyahu full credit for the vaccines but that is not the be all and end all," he said.

In his opinion, the return of governance begins with placing the issue at the top of the government's priority list and then allocating resources and changing legislation. The responsibility for all the shortcomings rests with Netanyahu and those who feel it the most are the residents of the Negev, the Galilee and Ramla, argued Hendel.

On New Hope’s decline in the polls, Hendel said he expected the decline after the "peak" of the party's founding, but added that he is proud of the hundreds of thousands who believe in the party's path. "There are now three weeks in which we have to work very hard to get more and more seats. There are many who are undecided in our area code, who want change in the State of Israel."

Naftali Bennett, stated Hendel, will be a senior partner in Gideon Sa’ar's government. "There is no doubt about that," he said, adding, "Yair Lapid cannot be Prime Minister because he does not have enough people to recommend him. He will not get the votes from the right and Bennett will not get the votes from the left. Netanyahu has only one route with Bennett, religious Zionism and the haredim while we have several routes and those who have more routes can negotiate."

Asked what will happen if the options are another election or joining a Netanyahu-led government, Hendel replied, "I was the one who pushed for a unity government and, ultimately, we are in a fourth election in two years. Everyone can be blamed, but there has been no budget for three years, associations are going bankrupt, authorities are begging for money. They are in a chaotic situation and there is also a division among the people."

"We need to move on from Binyamin Netanyahu, who is not leading us to progress but rather setting us back,” continued Hendel. Asked about his own changing parties, he blasted those who consistently change their opinions and once again singled out Netanyahu and his zigzagging during the period of the Disengagement from Gaza. "It is not serious to change your views and positions. I have positions that were expressed five and ten years ago and they have remained the same."

On the coronavirus crisis, Hendel stated that the main problem is the public mistrust which was created due to Netanyahu's unreasonable decision-making. "The coronavirus has exposed all our diseases, the autonomy in certain areas of Israel, the problems with communication infrastructure, the public health problems, problems that affect the entire country and all sectors and when one is only dealing with his own personal survival, those problems are not solved. Therefore, Israel needs change that can only take place with Gideon Sa’ar at the helm."