Outgoing coalition chairwoman MK Idit Silman (Yamina) denied Thursday that she struck a deal with the Likud prior to her announcement that she plans to defect from the coalition to the Opposition.
Speaking with Zman Yisrael, Silman pushed back on a report Wednesday which cited a senior coalition official who claimed she had been guaranteed the tenth spot on the Likud’s next Knesset slate and the Health Ministry portfolio in exchange for her defection.
“The Likud was ready to give me anything, but there was never any agreement,” said Silman. “And now the coalition is offering me the position of Health Minister, but I’m not going to take them up on it.”
“I did everything by myself. I surprised everyone. I got up at 2:00 a.m. Tuesday and spoke only with my friend, who is not involved in politics. I told myself that this is the time. Then I spoke with [Likud MK] Yariv Levin, and that was it. I surprised everyone – even Netanyahu. They didn’t know I’d make an announcement like that. No one knew. They were in shock, but I stand by my decision.”
Silman explained her decision to bolt the coalition, saying she was concerned by what she perceived as the general deterioration of Israel’s Jewish identity, as well as Yamina’s ideological integrity.
“The problem wasn’t the Chametz,” Silman said, referring to Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz’s plan to allow leavened bread to be brought into hospitals during Passover. “It was everything else that was important to us. The Chametz [Law] was just the straw that broke the camel’s back. It reflected the deterioration of Jewish identity.”
“I saw it over and over again. Then there was the deterioration in values. Prime Minister Bennett used the phrase ‘the West Bank’. Wow. If I supported [referring to it as] ‘the West Bank’, I’d join Yesh Atid, get a guaranteed spot, we’d go to elections, and I’d feel very comfortable.”
"If we go to elections, it will not be because of me. Now, at this very moment, it is possible to form a rightwing government. What's the problem? Gidon Sa'ar's party doesn't pass the electoral threshold, Yamina also has a problem with [the electoral threshold]. We can form a government. Bennett can be prime minister or defense minister and there can be rotation with Netanyahu," she added.