Photo Credit: Sraya Diamant/Flash90
MK Idit Silman with Benjamin Netanyahu (from the back), July 12, 2022.

Idit Silman, 42, began her political career in the 24th Knesset when Yamina Chairman Naftali Bennett included her in the eighth spot on his party’s slate. Yamina only won seven seats, but one day before the swearing-in, Sderot Mayer Alon Davidi resigned, the last Yamina member to quit without stealing his seat. Silman took his place and within a year or so resigned but held on to her seat, switching to the opposition––ugly rumors suggested it was in exchange for promises of becoming a Likud minister, preferably getting the health portfolio––and brought down the Lapid-Bennett government.

Netanyahu did keep his (unofficial) promise (because such a promise would have been illegal) and Silman was placed in the respectable 16th spot on the Likud slate. As to the rest of the (unofficial) promise, for which Silman sacrificed her reputation, as well as the coalition of which she was the whip, the ugly rumors (according to News12 reporter Daphna Lial), suggest Netanyahu called her in for a talk and informed her the ministerial appointment would be out of the question––maybe shed land a deputy minister’s job, maybe only a Knesset committee chairmanship (which is what she left behind to betray her party and government).


Silman tweeted on Sunday: “This is the life of an elected official. Reporter Daphna Lial contacted me this evening with a fake story about my personal meeting with the Prime Minister-elect. I made it clear to her unequivocally that these things never happened and that the story she described was a hoax. Despite my clarifications, she decided to publish tonight things that are not true at all.”

Lial’s report was short and sweet: “Netanyahu tried to convince Silman to give up the position of minister and settle for a deputy minister or head of a committee. It didn’t work. Silman clarified that she paid a heavy price and expects that the promises will be kept.”

Adorable, right?

MK Idit Silman with the two men who granted her political life – and were left to perish when she jumped across the aisle. / Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

By the way, Yoav Kisch, a veteran Likud MK who supported Netanyahu through thick and thin, tweeted two days before the recent election: “I hereby undertake to oppose with all my might whoever comes up with the delusional idea of adding Silman to the Likud. I prefer to sit in the opposition for the entire term and not allow unprincipled people into the Likud.”

Could that have something to do with Bibi’s promise-keeping shortcomings? The Likud chairman has suffered enough from his party members over the generous gifts he has given the coalition partners – can he force one more foie gras down their gullet?

Kan 11 reporter Akiva Novik posed the following logical problem: “Both Likud and Silman swore that she was not promised any position in exchange for the dissolution of the previous coalition. So, in what universe does she deserve a position in the next government? Why should she get a position before veteran Likudniks who worked hard and were elected in the primaries, and were not parachuted into the slate?”

On August 15, when Silman changed Israeli history by deserting the party that had given her political life, she wanted to become a one-member Knesset faction. The Knesset Committee rejected her request, and she was forced to resign, otherwise, Yamina would have declared her a rogue MK, which would have prevented her from joining any party that was in the Knesset at the time.

She spent almost two weeks in terrifying uncertainty, no job, no future until Netanyahu extended his hand and lifted her to the 16th slot on his slate, pushing legitimate, primary-elected Likud members down one spot each. Oh, the humanity.

One man did make a kind of sacrifice to advance Silman’s career: her husband, Shmuel Silman, who used to be a director working at an HMO and had to resign when his wife became Chair of the Knesset Health Committee. He had to settle for a new job as CEO of MLRN, a finance conglomerate. Again, oh, the humanity.


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