Shmulik Silman
Shmulik SilmanCourtesy

Close to thirty thousand people have made a donation to the crowdfunding campaign to raise money toward former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s legal expenses; one of the donors, surprisingly, is Shmulik Silman, the husband of Yamina MK Idit Silman, who is also the chairperson of the coalition.

In an interview aired on Galei Israel on Wednesday, Silman explained why he decided to contribute to the campaign. “I got up in the morning and came across a video of Netanyahu’s family members with his lawyers,” he said.

“I saw someone there with a megaphone shouting, ‘He’s corrupt, he’s corrupt!’ and I realized that we lost it. This man has given his life to the state and now he is battling for his own life. I don’t know how we reached the point where we lost it,” he added, relating a personal incident to illustrate his own determination to take a different approach: “On the day the new government was sworn in, I saw Netanyahu, approached him, and asked to take a picture with him. We need to figure out how to change direction here.”

Asked to comment on the current government, Silman said, “Clearly there are aspects that are good and others that are less so, even things that give me no peace. I would have preferred a right-wing government – anyone on the right would prefer that – but the situation was complex and there was no possibility of establishing a government of 61 Knesset members under Netanyahu’s leadership.

“Anger is legitimate,” he conceded, “but things have gotten out of hand. Netanyahu has many achievements to his credit – he brought us the peace agreements [the Abraham Accords], he brought us the vaccines, and in hindsight we can see how ably he managed the coronavirus crisis.

“Bennett is also an excellent manager,” he added, but when asked, “If you had to choose between Bibi and Bennett, who would you choose?” Silman replied: “I don’t know.”

When asked whether he thought Netanyahu had been wronged, Silman replied, “I don’t just think he was wronged; I’m convinced of it. I made my donation in order to identify with him, not because he needs the money.

“In my opinion, a lot of people should apologize,” he concluded the interview.