Matan Kahana
Matan Kahana Arutz Sheva

MK Matan Kahana (National Unity), who formerly served as Religious Affairs Minister, responded to Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked's apology to her voters for joining the government.

Kahana emphasized that former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who will not run in the next elections, "very very much did not want [MK Benjamin] Netanyahu to return to power, and Naftali knew from the beginning that in the end, Ayelet with her sentiment will put Netanyahu in power if it is in her power to do so."

In an interview with N12, Kahana also said that before Bennett decided to drop out of the race, it was clear to him that he and Kahana would not run together with Shaked.

"Before Naftali decided to leave, and when we spoke between ourselves about running and we said, 'Let's prepare for elections,' it was clear to us that we could not run with Ayelet," Kahana recalled. "It was clear that Naftali and I will be on a side that does not want Netanyahu, and it was clear that Ayelet is not there, Ayelet in general sees her future in Likud, she's a 'Bibist.'"

"Bibist," taken from Netanyahu's nickname, "Bibi," is a term used mostly by leftists to refer to those who are firm supporters of Netanyahu returning to power.

Kahana continued, "After Naftali already said that he was leaving, and we debated how to run, I told Ayelet, 'Listen, your sentiment is to go with Netanyahu. Let's part as friends, go with Netanyahu.' She understood that a very large portion of classic Religious Zionism identifies with my positions, and she understood that she wanted me. I obviously knew that my first preference - and she knew this the entire time - was National Unity, and if there was no option, I would try with Ayelet."

According to Kahana, "Now the real Ayelet has come out, the one who wants Netanyahu as prime minister. The Ayelet who wants a narrow right-wing government is the real Ayelet. This is the Ayelet who I knew was hiding inside the previous Ayelet... Ayelet was right-wing the entire year, and here I agree with what she says. Ayelet was right-wing, and Ayelet is still right-wing, just like I was right-wing and I am still right-wing. I, unlike her, do not apologize - I think that this government was critical and necessary for the Stae of Israel."

Ayelet Shaked confirmed Kahana's statements, saying, "Matan Kahana understood correctly. I am right-wing and I work for the sake of a right-wing government, while he tries to mislead the Religious Zionist public and whitewash [Defense Minister Benny] Gantz and [former IDF Chief of Staff Gadi] Eizenkot, the leftists."

"But it won't help him, the right-wing public cannot vote for Gantz and Eizenkot."

Gantz and Eizenkot are running together in the National Unity camp, which Kahana is a member of.