Oded Revivi
Oded ReviviArutz Sheva

Leaders of Judea and Samaria have demanded that the Yamina party join the unity government between the Likud and Blue and White parties and not sit in the opposition.

Efrat Mayor Oded Revivi said in an interview with Arutz Sheva that there are no substantial ideological differences between Yamina and the Likud.

"I do not accept the claim that there are ideological problems. Yamina members themselves say that if they only got senior or more influential portfolios, they would join. In the end, the challenge is to take a party that has four [members who want to be ministers and to apportion roles for them, in a government whose biggest challenge is already the division of roles," Revivi said.

According to him, "This is a government whose coalition agreement includes a section on sovereignty. A party that accepts the education portfolio that, from the point of view of national religious Zionism, has always been the flagship, and claims that it does not have influence, I find it difficult to accept its argument that there are ideological differences."

"Why is it important for Yamina to be inside [the government]? As I expressed with the unity government, I would like to see Yamina there. We are after three health systems where the people feel torn and bruised. We, after three health systems with the challenges the coronavirus has created for Israel, actually need a government that will lead in the direction of unity and solve problems and not a government that will be challenged from the right or left and where everyone just wants to make headlines.

"There are many things published and I think the education portfolio is one that many Likud MKs would be happy to receive from the prime minister. The Jerusalem portfolio has a very big impact on economic activity in Jerusalem. These are cases with influence," he advised.

Revivi stated that he finds it difficult to understand statements which have been made by the leaders of Yamina. "We all know to whom the prophecy was given. I heard the Yamina Knesset members say that in a year and a half Netanyahu is leaving office and they are preparing for the next day. I don't know what they will decide in Yamina, but if they say that they will come in, the prime minister will surely take them in. There is still time before the government to be sworn in and it can also be rejected and joined later. At the moment, there is a country to manage and citizens to give a solution."

And if Netanyahu does not keep his promise and apply sovereignty? "Right now it appears in the coalition agreement and we just need to make sure it happens. If it doesn't, they will have the option to retire. Sovereignty is something the right-wing parties have aspired to and hoped for. The position of influence here is when you are part of the coalition, part of the government and cabinet - and you can say that if you don't get your way you resign because of your adherence to your principles. To not come in for fear that this is a statement from a leader who will not fulfill it is a shame and doesn't make sense."

Revivi referred to a recent storm when he said he thought a Palestinian Arab state could be recognized. “I was in Washington with the Prime Minister at the time of the US President’s statement. Things were stated most clearly and explicitly. Begin the process of applying Israeli law to 30 percent of the territory of Judea and Samaria and commit to entering into four-year negotiations on the fate of the remaining 70 percent. It is certainly possible that from this there will be parts that will be recognized as a Palestinian state without [control of the] borders and without an army. In my understanding and historical perspective, the Zionist leadership has always known to be the one who says yes and does not say no. We are given the go-ahead to apply the law to 30% of the area after years of praying and hoping for it. The Palestinians will probably not agree to compromises in the future, but let's take what we have been given."

"A Palestinian state as defined in the Trump Declaration is not the same as we are afraid of. It is primarily similar to the Palestinian Authority as it is today," he added.

Revivi is aware of the possibility that the PA will fall apart if sovereignty is declared. "There is such a dialogue within the security agencies. The geographical area here requires cooperation and the definition of the relationship. This should be done on the basis of agreements."

"There is concern that the PA will not be able to respond to its citizens and if in Bethlehem there is a water shortage they will come looking for us. Therefore, I constantly worry about what is happening in the PA, not because of their thinking, but with the understanding that if they are not well, they will come to me. From a political perspective, they should make sure that their citizens are able to bring bread and water to the table or they will look for it elsewhere."