MK Amichai Chikli, who was declared a defector from the Yamina faction this week, does not feel that his political career is over.
In an interview with the Yediot Aharonot newspaper, Chikli estimated, "Yamina and New Hope will not run for the next Knesset. They may unite, but they did not deliver the goods; Yamina because of the wholesale violation of promises, and New Hope because in the decisive moments, Gideon Sa’ar fully aligned with the judiciary, torpedoed his partners from the national camp, and he did not lead to any significant move in this area."
"The disappointment from Sa’ar, according to the polls, is great. So there is a secular and traditional public, worth about 15 Knesset seats - now, how will it be divided and look in the future? I would be happy to produce an alternative for this public. There is potential and a [new] party is an option. I really do not see myself as the main story. I am a servant of the public."
Chikli was asked about political cooperation with people such as Bezalel Smotrich, and journalists Yaakov Bardugo and Boaz Bismuth. He replied, "People like Bismuth, yes. I highly respect Smotrich but we do not share the same positions."
Asked where is the gap with Smotrich, he replied, "On matters of religion and state and in relation to Arabs. I define myself as a liberal who wants to minimize state intervention in people's lives in terms of religion and state. As for the Arabs, I think we should avoid controlling Palestinian population centers. This is a significant difference between me and Smotrich, because, in my opinion, it is not Israel's goal to be the sovereign there and there should be Palestinian autonomy. I have no vision of giving an [Israeli] identity card to the residents of Ramallah and Shechem, that is completely crazy."
Asked about "settler violence", Chikli replied emphatically, "I do not accept the term ‘settlers’. Secondly, I have no intention of cooperating with the despicable campaign denouncing 'settler violence', which is backed by the European Union, which funds organizations such as B'Tselem and Breaking the Silence. Ultimately, I say, every citizen who raises a hand or insults a member of the security forces should be severely punished."