Former Likud Ministers Goad Netanyahu on Building, Bezeq

YERUSHALAYIM -
Newly appointed minister of Interior, Silvan Shalom (C-L) and outgoing minister Gilad Erdan(R) at a ceremony for replacing of minister, held at the Ministry of the Interior in Jerusalem. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Newly appointed minister of Interior, Silvan Shalom (C-L) and outgoing minister Gilad Erdan(R) at a ceremony for replacing of minister, held at the Ministry of the Interior in Jerusalem. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Two former top Likud members, Gilad Erdan and Gideon Saar, seem out to make trouble for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, goading him on such issues as building over the Green Line and reform in the communications sector.

At a Yerushalayim Day event, the two, both former Interior Ministers, took turns urging a more aggressive building program in the capital despite the objections of the U.S. and Europe.

“This is the day to say in a clear voice that we should build massively and significantly in all parts of Yerushalayim,” Saar said. “I call upon the prime minister. Talking about building is not enough. Enough talking. Let’s build.”

Similarly, Erdan said Israel should go ahead with constructions plans even though “the nations of the world do not accept our sovereignty and our rights over all parts of the city and even U.S. President Barack Obama, unfortunately, asked for a construction freeze in Gilo.”

Israel, he said, should build in every neighborhood, including Gilo and Har Homa, “without being deterred by or afraid of international pressure.”

And on Monday, Erdan was reportedly drafting a bill to break up Bezeq Israeli Telecommunication Company.

“In recent years, Bezeq has taken every possible step to mire and delay implementation of the reform that would lower costs to the public by tens of percentage points. Therefore, I’ve drawn the conclusion that the right way to cope with such a powerful monopoly is to bind Bezeq to sell its content and services holdings and leave it purely as an infrastructure company,” Erdan said.

The statement came a day after Netanyahu phoned Ministry of Communications Director General Avi Berger, an Erdan appointee, to tell him he was fired.

Rumors of the dismissal had already lifted Bezeq’s share price on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, since it was taken as a signal that reform in the landline and internet markets will now be put on hold, according to Globes.