Likud MK Miri Regev has aroused the anger of several members of her party, after denouncing the “white DNA” of the leadership of the party.
In an interview with Yediot Acharonot on Friday, Regev, whose terms as culture and later transportation minister were mired with controversy, noted that since the founding of the country, many senior positions in Israel have never been filled by Mizrachi Jews (of Middle-Eastern descent), although the majority of Likud supporters hail from this community.
Most of the senior members of Likud, who are chosen in internal primaries, are of Ashkenazi descent, as were all the leaders of the party, she said.
“If Likud members continue to elect leaders with white DNA, another Likud will emerge. A real, Mizrachi Likud that will give the Mizrachim a voice that has been excluded for years,” she asserted.
In an interview with Channel 13 News on Motzoei Shabbos, Regev noted that “there is a Western elite [in Israel] that controls most centers of power. It is unacceptable that after 73 years there has not been a Mizrachi prime minister, nor a Mizrachi chief justice, man or woman.
“I think that the day after [former Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu steps down [as Likud chairman], Likud members will have to do some soul searching. We have excellent Mizrachim who can lead the Likud,” she added.
Regev, 56, who has made it no secret that she plans to vie for Likud leadership as well as the premiership in the post-Netanyahu era in the party, was born in Israel to a father of Moroccan origin and a mother of Spanish origin.
Several Likud MKS accused Regev of seeking to unseat Netanyahu now that the party is no longer in power.
“Anyone who says, ‘I will run for Likud leadership after Netanyahu’ probably secretly wishes that day would come, and maybe even take action to make it happen,” MK Amir Ohana told Channel 12.
“Her comments are strange. Miri Regev has voted for the Ashkenazi Netanyahu for all these years… Why is she suddenly having ethnic considerations?” he said.
Likud MK Tzachi Hanegbi told Channel 12, “My mother was a Mizrachi leader and she could have been a very good prime minister, but not because she was the daughter of a Yemeni father and a Moroccan mother, but thanks to her personality. This is how Likud leaders are elected.”