Members of the Yamina party revealed on Thursday that they are resisting offers from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to induce them to defect to Likud in order to sabotage Yair Lapid’s nascent coalition.
MKs Idit Silman, Abir Kara and Nir Orbach said they are sticking with Yamina leader Naftali Bennett, who is negotiating a rotating premiership with Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid.
Silman said she was offered jobs and a reserved spot on the Likud electoral slate by envoys sent by Netanyahu.
“Thanks, but no,” Silman wrote online. “I’m not interested in that, but rather in preventing fifth elections and stopping the chaos that you [Netanyahu] led the country to.”
Kara claimed to have refused the position of economy minister and a guaranteed spot on the Likud list for the next two elections if he would leave Yamina.
In a letter to the prime minister quoted in media reports, Kara told Netanyahu he had “failed to form a government” despite resorting to “tricks and gimmicks.”
“Instead of busying yourself with setting up a government, you were busy with personal insults against Naftali Bennett. Pity,” he wrote.
Likud dismissed Kara’s story as fabricated, calling it “ridiculous spin from Bennett that is intended to divert attention away from him galloping into a leftist-government with Meretz and Labor despite all his commitments to the voter.”
Another Yamina MK, Amichai Chikli, has openly declared his opposition to an alliance with the leftist Meretz and Arab parties, saying he will vote against such a government.
Meanwhile, Netanyahu held a meeting with chareidi party leaders to maintain their support. In a statement afterwards, the Likud said they agreed to remain united against the establishment of what it termed a “leftist government.”
The meeting was attended by Shas party leader Interior Minister Rabbi Aryeh Deri, United Torah Judaism leaders Rabbi Moshe Gafni and Housing Minister Rabbi Yaakov Litzman. MK Bezalel Smotrich, leader of the Religious Zionism alliance, was not at the meeting due to illness, Hebrew media reported.