MK Aryeh Deri, who heads the Sephardic-haredi Shas party, admitted that he and the other haredi MKs did not put enough pressure on former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before the previous unity government fell, Kikar Hashabbat reported.
In a recent meeting with those close to him, Deri spoke about the current political situation, saying that he and his colleagues in the haredi parties should have pressured Netanyahu to keep his rotation agreement with Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who heads the Blue and White party.
At the beginning of the meeting, Deri mentioned the negotiations the right-religious bloc had held with the United Arab List (Ra'am) party, saying, "We never for a moment dreamed of really forming a government with them. It was all just for the sake of negotiations."
"They agreed to support us in exchange for an aid package. I told [Religious Zionism Chairman MK Bezalel] Smotrich, 'Let's form a government of 59 with them, a moment before the swearing-in we will add two MKs from New Hope, and we'll form a government without Ra'am.' He didn't agree, that was his political mistake.
"A day after the elections, Netanyahu called me and told me, 'Bennett has signed with the Left.' I laughed at him, I didn't understand what he wants. In the end it turned out that he was correct. Bennett had made agreements with them from the first moment."
"We made a mistake when we didn't send Netanyahu the message that we won't allow the government to fall apart," Deri said in a meeting of the haredi parties. "We needed to invest a lot more in order to mediate between Netanyahu and Gantz. We erred."
In the past, Deri said similar things about Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu). Then, he said that Netanyahu had told him that Liberman would do everything to bring him down, Deri said otherwise, and in the end Netanyahu turned out to be correct