MK Michael Malkieli, the chairman of Shas Knesset faction, said on Tuesday that he is optimistic about the imminent fall of the government.
"It is very difficult to maintain a government with 60 seats, which also has a lot of people who are in between, and the question is about who will jump ship first," Malkieli said in an interview with Radio Kol Chai.
On the involvement of Shas chairman Aryeh Deri, who is not currently an MK, in politics, he said, "The chairman of Shas sees the toppling of the government as his life mission and from the beginning of this term, he is only concerned with this and the successes we had in the opposition - he is behind them. There is no doubt that the coalition will have a much more difficult time in the plenum and today everyone understands very well how right it was to boycott the committees and we just saw it in the declaration of [Amichai] Chikli as a defector. When there is no real representation of the opposition it is very difficult to have a real debate and bring the real value of the opposition."
"We made it clear that we would not be willing to be part of this theater. We were not given any committee that has legislative power, in stark contrast to past practice. Of course in some committees we have representatives – such as the Finance Committee and Constitution Committee."
Malkieli clarified, "Bennett going home and the government falling should be at the top of the list of priorities. To ensure the security of the state, we cannot allow [Omer] Barlev to continue to serve as Public Security Minister, and for the benefit of the health system, [Nitzan] Horowitz must not continue to be the Minister of Health, and so on. There are ministers here who cause harm at every moment in the ministries in which they sit."
He analyzed the existing options, saying, "Among the many options – the formation of a government headed by Netanyahu in this Knesset is the preferred option - and it is possible. There are more than 65 seats in the Knesset that belong to the right-wing bloc, we all know that if Bennett did not have that crazy desire to be Prime Minister, we would have had a government with a majority of 61. The people of Israel gave the right an absolute majority in the Knesset."
Malkieli explained, "If Sa'ar had known that the second option was to go to the opposition, would he not have come to us? Because he promised? And what about all the promises he broke in forming this government. I say this with knowledge of the situation, that there were already 61, everything was closed and Bennett did everything in his power just to be Prime Minister, he used a trick of cheating and deceit in the middle of a military operation."
"I want to say, as someone who knows and talks to all the members of our faction – they are all of the same opinion. We stand with absolute certainty behind the chairman of the movement who leads our political line and there is no other opinion in the faction. We will only go unequivocally with Netanyahu."
On the question of the party's readiness for elections, Malkieli said, "Shas never closes its headquarters, I am now on my way to Tiberias to meet our representatives. From the day after the election, we are already on the ground, in touch with everyone and always ready for an election."