MK Zvi Hauser, a member of the Derech Eretz Party which last week merged with Ayelet Shaked’s Yamina Party to form the Zionist Spirit Party, responded on Monday to polls showing that the party barely passes the electoral threshold and winning the minimum four seats in the November election.
"We will pass the electoral threshold," Hauser told Radio 103FM in an interview. "More and more people will understand that without the Zionist Spirit Netanyahu has 61 [seats to form a coalition], and with the Zionist Spirit no one has 61. That is to say, there is no government of 61 with Netanyahu, with a French law and with a monthly free pass for Ben Gvir-Smotrich, and there is no government of 61 of Yair Lapid with a monthly free pass of Tibi. Therefore, only a strong and large Zionist Spirit guarantees with certainty that there is no 61 neither from here nor from here."
Regarding his separation from Gideon Sa'ar, Hauser said, "I met with my friend Gideon 72 hours before his decision to merge with Blue and White, and I told him in a very clear and simple way - 'I was once a right winger in Blue and White, and I, who was a right winger in Blue and White, very quickly stood the test of Benny Gantz who wanted to form a government with the Joint List, and I said no. Benny Gantz was very angry and seething, and he knows very well that if he has such plans, I am not a partner.'"
Hauser went on to say, "I told Gideon Sa'ar another thing, 'We are a statesmanlike right-wing party. Given the situation, this slot has a place and has a wide public of supporters. I don't think we need to connect with a party that is more centrist in the political field and distinctly more left-wing in the economic field.' And that's it. We parted as friends."
"I'm constantly accused of moving, but I stayed in the same place - the statesmanlike right. I ran three times with Blue and White as the statesmanlike right wing. When Blue and White decided to form a government with the Joint List, I said no, and that's when we parted ways. I could have been a senior minister of Blue and White, I could have formed a Gantz-led government of 61 MKs with 15 Knesset members from the Joint List, I said no."
Asked whether the Zionist Spirit would prefer another election if after the November election they will be the party that makes up the 61 seats required for a government, Hauser replied, "We are establishing a broad, Zionist unity government. You happen to be talking to the only person who was in a situation of 59-59 and brought a unity government, me. And I can tell you that the fact that Netanyahu is in the opposition today and Yair Lapid is Prime Minister - Netanyahu also has a strategic interest not to go to sixth and seventh elections."
"We will not sit with the Joint List, period, because we will only sit with those who accept the founding arrangement of a Jewish-democratic state. I have said this since the beginning of my days in politics. Regarding Ra'am, we have learned our lesson."
Commenting on the experience of the last government, Hauser said, "We sat for a year in a government of 61 members, a narrow government, it crashed before our very eyes. We learned our lessons. There is no future for a narrow government that relies on Ra'am, of course, certainly not on the Joint List, there is no future for a narrow government that relies on Ben Gvir-Smotrich. I have no intention of giving a monthly free pass to Ben Gvir, I have no intention of giving a monthly free pass to Tibi. The only solution for stability in the State of Israel is a broad unity government."
Asked whether this unity government will also include Yair Lapid, he replied, "I have no problem with Lapid." He was then asked whether Itamar Ben Gvir would also be welcomed in such a unity government and replied, "We are talking about a broad unity government, anyone who accepts its basic lines is welcome. I don't believe Ben Gvir will accept its basic lines."
Responding to Hauser’s remarks, Ben Gvir said, "Hauser, who sat with terrorists and supporters of terrorism, boycotts me - a Jew who fights terrorism and embraces Jews. This is the face of the new left."