Nir Barkat
Nir Barkat Photo: TPS

MK Nir Barkat (Likud) on Friday criticized MK Miri Regev after she told Yediot Aharonot in an interview that “it is time for a Sephardic Prime Minister” and noted that the Likud leadership is made up mainly of Ashkenazi men.

“This is a divisive statement that has no place in the movement,” Barkat told Channel 12 News in an interview, adding, "We are a movement of the people and we have everything, thank God - secular, traditional religious, Jews and non-Jews. We have all the diversity and our leadership is elected based on the path it presents and the values ​​they bring from home. If we want to return to power, we must unite within the Likud and outside of it."

"I would be glad if Miri, who has rights, like many others who want to run within the movement, presents her vision and the Likud members will choose who they think will bring rule and an alternative to a government that is going nowhere," Barkat added.

Barkat would not reply when asked whether he might run for the leadership of the Likud should primaries take place and Benjamin Netanyahu would be running. "It is not right at this time to hold primaries in the Likud, now is the time to look for the common denominator and unite. When the time comes, we will talk," he said.

On the fact that other MKs from the Likud, such as Yisrael Katz, Yuli Edelstein and Miri Regev, have stated that they intend to run in the Likud primaries, Barkat said, "This is the beauty of the Likud, there is no one like us. You will not see it in New Hope, Yamina, Yair Lapid and others. That is exactly what allows the leadership to grow and be elected in a democratic movement."

Barkat criticized Prime Minister Naftali Bennett for going on vacation at the height of the COVID-19 crisis. "You are trying to understand where it is going and there is no leadership. The coronavirus is leading us instead of the government leading the coronavirus," he argued.

Barkat also commented on the desire of the Americans to promote the opening of a Palestinian embassy in Jerusalem and expressed strong opposition to the move: "The Americans want to open a Palestinian embassy in Jerusalem. I expect the Prime Minister and right-wingers within the coalition to say to the US President: 'This will not happen, we are not prepared to divide Jerusalem.'"

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)