Former Justice Minister MK Ayelet Shaked referred in an interview with Arutz Sheva to a number of issues regarding the Trump Mideast initiative and reversing changes she made in the judicial system, which also mean costs to Prime Minister Netanyahu.
On life in the opposition as opposed to that in the coalition, MK Shaked says in the opposition "you have the freedom to support what you truly believe without coalition discipline and protest what you don't believe in," a reality that makes the new reality a complex blend of pros and cons.
"Since Netanyahu has established a government with significant Leftist parties and transferred them powers and ministries like Justice and Internal Security, we are trying to push this government Rightward, this time from outside."
On the sovereignty that Netanyahu promises to promote in early July, a move that greatly worries the settlement leaders and the Right-leaning camp who see a real danger in the plan, she says her party is currently in a series of meetings to clarify the situation and upcoming moves: "I met yesterday with the Yesha Council Chairman and Director and saw the map in their hands. They said they submitted amendments to the map, but the amendments weren't accepted and Netanyahu and the Americans want to stick to the original American map. It's complex. We want to apply sovereignty but we need to make map corrections to assure that together with sovereignty we don't recognize a Palestinian state."
Responding to the claim that it was a package deal, she replies: "Even when we were in the coalition, the Prime Minister didn't share details about this issue. We asked for the maps and details and couldn't get any. After we get the details and understand the picture then we'll relate. We're in two weeks of intense meetings. From what we have until now, and I say this with caution, there's no intention of bringing the whole Trump plan and recognition of a Palestinian state, but only sovereignty. We'll wait and see."
She says Yesha Council heads are correct in their assessment that it is better to leave the situation as it is, provided it does not bring about establishing a Palestinian state. "We treat this issue in a matter-of-fact and non-political way. There may be an opportunity here that could be historic for the Land of Israel. If we look at it cleanly and politically, our goal is to see if a sovereign move can be achieved without paying the price of establishing a Palestinian state."
Is this possible? "I want to wait a week or two to be smarter. The last time Prime Minister went to Washington, too, he realized that sovereignty could be applied the next day, but that didn't happen. We have to be careful that what is said today will not necessarily be true tomorrow. Our rule is to try to promote sovereignty without promoting a Palestinian state."
On the 'French Law' that would prevent sitting prime ministers from being indicted that her party introduced, Shaked was asked why the matter was so urgent, and whether it did not appear as a tribute to Netanyahu who left Yamina out: "Betzalel Smotrich led this move. It isn't urgent, but we're in a new Knesset and we're introducing a series of bills.
"There is a lot of logic in French Law in tenure allotment. From 1996, every prime minister here has been under investigation, so if the misdemeanor isn't serious and it's done within the allotted tenure, there's a lot of advantage to that." Regarding the fact that the move looks like a tribute to Netanyahu, she says "We're promoting initiatives regardless of whether it helps the coalition and Netanyahu or not, but according to what we believe."
And maybe the entire purpose of this bill is to drive a wedge in the coalition with Blue and White expected to oppose? "Disagreements among them are their problem. I won't interfere with their problems. We'll sharpen the fact that when the prime minister decided to shake off his Yamina partners and abandon the Right in the opposition and sell half of the government to the Left, we as the opposition will want to drive a wedge between them. It's certainly part of our function."
On her party's accusations that Netanyahu is embarrassed today by the results of his fight against the changes Yamina wanted to advance in the justice system, Shaked was asked which changes would improve his situation today, and she replied "not everything needs to be examined in terms of what's good for Netanyahu or what's bad for Netanyahu. We look at what's good for the State of Israel and the Right's agenda in Israel."
Regarding Netanyahu's conduct, she says "he refused any change in the judicial system. This is what all justice ministers before me have said. When I had clashes with the Court about changes I wanted to make, the Prime Minister took the Court's position, ie. the position of the system and not my position that sought to make changes. Since entering politics we've been trying to make changes. I've been able to do a lot of things and a lot of work. Unfortunately, Netanyahu has sold the justice portfolio fully to the Left and placed there Avi Nissenkorn who is 180 degrees from what we believe."
Shaked also referred to the Supreme Court decision to prohibit the IDF's demolishing the operative's home who murdered Dvir Sorek. We asked her whether Netanyahu didn't do Yamina a favor when he took the Defense Ministry from it, thus saving party members the need to deliberate on how to act and how to respond.
"We're unafraid of responsibility. We'd love to be in the key positions of defense and justice and confront the issue, but this ruling shows what I've been talking about for the last few years. Judge Mintz who was appointed in my time supported demolition as a minority opinion. Judge Bar-on was appointed during Netanyahu and Livni's time, and Judge Fogelman was appointed during Ne'eman and Netanyahu stopped the demolitions. What is important is to bring conservative judges to the Supreme Court.
"I built a conservative camp in the Supreme Court and I see it in petitions all the time. The fact that Netanyahu gave Nissenkorn the Justice Ministry and the majority in the judiciary selection committee to the Left is a serious mistake for which the State and Right will pay many more years. This term could have produced equality between the conservatives and progressives in the Supreme Court."