Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke at a joint press conference with Zehut chairman Moshe Feiglin Thursday at the Kfar Maccabiah Hotel in Ramat Gan, after the two brokered a deal for Zehut to bow out of the Knesset race in exchange for a ministry in the next government.
During his address, Netanyahu said that “for the first time” in 25 years he and former Likud MK Moshe Feiglin found common ground and “really spoke to one another”, citing their shared support of free-market economics.
“We realized something that we knew, but hadn’t fully appreciated - that we are both committed to promoting free-market economics, lowering taxes, encouraging competition. We both support personal liberty and reducing government regulation.- you all know how hard I’ve worked in that regard – ending government interference that harms citizens and business owners, especially small-business owners. We both agree on a series of actions to reduce the cost of living.”
Netanyahu also voiced support for reforms to expand the availability of medicinal marijuana, a long-time demand of Zehut, which also promotes full decriminalization of the drug.
The Prime Minister also vowed to appoint Feiglin as a minister in the next government, calling him a “loyal ally”.
“I see you as a minister in the government and I see you as a partner with a common vision."
“I really mean it. I think that we will be able to work together in an extraordinary way to accomplish these goals.”
“I call on Zehut and its voters to help us accomplish our shared goals.”
The two agreed that the Likud would promote expanded access to medicinal marijuana in exchange for Zehut’s dropping out of the race, after polls showed the party well below the 3.25% electoral threshold – but still likely to draw tens of thousands of votes, mostly from the right-wing.
Following Netanyahu’s comments, Feiglin lauded the new alliance with the Likud, saying the deal reached with Netanyahu would help promote not only easier access to medical marijuana, but also help small businesses, reduce bureaucratic barriers on imported goods, and remove impediments which make it difficult for immigrants in regulated fields to work in Israel.
Feiglin added, however, that despite his support for the deal with Netanyahu that he felt obliged to bring the matter up for a referendum among Zehut party members.
“Because I promised that we would run in this year’s second election, though I could not have foreseen this great opportunity arising, I feel morally obligated to bring the matter to you to decide.”