Throughout his political life, MK Reuven Rivlin has remained true to the principles of Revisionist Zionist leader Zeev Jabotinsky, who preached uncompromising fealty to the Land of Israel and a strong response to Arab terror. During the 1990s, he was an outspoken critic of the Oslo process, and later voted against the expulsion of Jews from their homes in the Gaza Strip. Since then, he has spoken out against lopsided prisoner releases, such as the 1,027-for-Gilad Schalit deal.
But when Rivlin resigns from the Knesset next month to take the oath of office as Israel’s 10th president, the nationalist camp will lose a strong parliamentary vote when Rivlin is replaced by former Likud MK Carmel Shama’a-Hacohen. Shama’a-Hacohen, who obtained the 32nd spot on the joint Likud-Yisrael Betenu election list but was left out of the Knesset when the joint party achieved 31 seats, said Wednesday that the party has “mixed up its priorities” by stressing settling the land over social issues, and said that “two states for two peoples” is the “only” possible to solution to Israel-Palestinian fighting.
Shama’a-Hacohen also told Ynet he would consider forming a political alliance with another ex-Likudnik – former MK Moshe Kahlon – to run against the ruling coalition in the next election.
“The Likud has become less and less involved with social issues,” Shama’a-Hacohen he told Ynet. “The Likud has not gotten the percentages correct with respect to diplomatic issues and with respect to settlement, much more than with social issues.
Shama’a-Hacohen stressed that he “grew up and believes in a Likud that flies two flags: a social-economic flag, and a diplomatic-settlement flag.
“The movement in recent years to one flag and to the idea of one state for two peoples does not fit with my beliefs,” he said. “No solution except two states for two peoples will allow the State of Israel to remain both Jewish and democratic.”
Shama’a-Hacohen said the party currently focuses on Migron and Hebron at the expense of development towns like Hatzor and Dimona , leaving the lower rungs of Israel’s socioeconomic ladder to suffer.
‘It is important to me to fight for the path the Likud is on,” he told Ynet. “But if these efforts fail inside the Likud, I would not rule out running on a social issues ticket like the one Moshe Kahlon is going to form. For now, the issue has not come up between me and Kahlon.