Shlomo Ma'oz
Shlomo Ma'ozIsrael news photo: Archive

Economist Shlomo Maoz announced on Saturday that he intends to run for a spot on the Likud party’s list for the next Knesset.

Maoz, a Sephardic Jew, was the chief economist for Excellence-Nesuah, one of Israel's largest investment houses, but was fired this past January. He aroused the firm's ire when he made a speech denouncing "white" Ashkenazi elites that he claimed wield unfair power in the country.

Maoz had said at a conference at the Sapir College that well into the country's seventh decade, "The same white tribe rules." Bank Leumi, he added, "is for white people only. Only whites can achieve top-level positions.”

In addition, he said, “The Knesset and government budget committees are monolithic, with a vast majority of Ashkenazim, one Russian and one Mizrachi.” With these kinds of odds, the Ashkenazim guarantee themselves hegemony for the future, he said.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu welcomed Maoz’s decision. Netanyahu said in a statement he believes Maoz will contribute to the Likud and to the country due to his experience in economic and social issues, and invited him to join the party’s 100 days’ team in order to formulate a plan to reduce the cost of living.

Some suggested on Saturday night that Maoz would be an excellent candidate to fill the void left by Minister Moshe Cachlon, who announced unexpectedly two weeks ago that he would not run in the next election. Cachlon, who was considered the Likud’s primary “social issues man”, is also a Sephardic Jew.

Meanwhile on Saturday, the Kadima party continued its downfall, as MK Nachman Shai informed Labor chairwoman Shelly Yechimovich that he would contend for a spot on the party’s list for the Knesset. Shai’s decision came as a result of the union between the Likud and Yisrael Beytenu parties.

“It's time to think big, act big and join forces out of a sense of national responsibility,” Shai said on Saturday night. “The Labor party presents a clear and sharp alternative to the Netanyahu-Lieberman party. This is a social, economic and political way, which will ensure the future of the State of Israel as a Jewish democratic state.”

“I believe that Shelly Yechimovich is the right person today to lead Israel to the required changes, and I support her for the position of Prime Minister,” added Shai. “I intend to run in the primaries like all the other candidates and I believe that members of the Labor Party will give me the confidence as a person who will represent them faithfully in areas close to their hearts.”