Ex-Yisrael Beytenu MK Starts New Party To Fight Corruption

By Yisrael Price

Former Yisrael Beytenu MK Eli Avidar (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

YERUSHALAYIM — A former member of Yisrael Beytenu said on Tuesday he’s setting up a new party to promote corruption-free politics.

“It’s time for a new contract with the public. Free of crooks in politics,” Eli Avidar declared.

“This is the time for an ‘Israel free’ from dictatorship, corruption, coercion, anxiety, incitement, racism, bullying, oppression, and organized crime, and from hesitant politicians who blur positions in order to escape into Netanyahu’s arms at the moment of truth,” he added.

The party, to be called Israel Free, will push for a law to prevent indicted politicians from becoming prime minister.

“All those who refused to pass the Criminal Defendant Bill caused the overthrow of the change government and continued the Netanyahu government policy of trampling on civil rights,” Avidan said.

Furthermore, Avidar warned that coalition members who did not support the bill will “pay for it at the ballot box” in November.

Ironically, the Israel Hofsheet (Free Israel) organization accused Avidar’s anti-corruption party of stealing their name.

“With all due respect to MK Avidar and his passing political trend, there is only one Israel Hofsheet. We will act in any legal way to prevent him from using the organization’s name for political purposes. We wish Mr. Avidar success in his new path, but we insist that it will not be on our backs,” said Israel Hofsheet CEO Uri Keidar, according to The Times of Israel.

It is also worth noting that Yisrael Beytenu is widely regarded in Israel as the most corrupt party in recent years.

Former Yisrael Beytenu MK Faina Kirshenbaum was sentenced in July 2021 to 10 years in prison, the longest jail term ever imposed on a Knesset member.

Judge Yaron Levy said Kirshenbaum had taken bribes in a “systematic, cunning and sophisticated” manner over six years from eight separate, unconnected sources, amounting to some NIS 2 million ($604,415). The benefits and cash were used by Kirshenbaum, members of her family, confidants and the Yisrael Beytenu party, he said.

The party’s former Agriculture Ministry director-general Rami Cohen was sentenced to 30 months behind bars for assisting Kirschenbaum in the scheme.

Former Yisrael Beytenu headquarters chief David Godovsky was sentenced in 2018 to seven years in prison for taking bribes, money laundering, and requesting bribes.

Avidar’s departure from Yisrael Beytenu was unrelated to corruption issues, however. Rather, it came about due to his frustrations over not receiving a ministerial position in the government, according to reports.

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