The Yamina party announced Sunday afternoon that it will not join the Netanyahu-Gantz government, and that it will serve its upcoming Knesset term in the opposition, “and fight there on behalf of the national camp.”
“Yamina will begetting ready make for the day after Netanyahu, which will come in a year and a half, and offer from the opposition a real rightwing alternative,” the party’s official statement said.
The party is expected to convene Sunday night.
The Yamina announcement called the coming Netanyahu government “left-wing,” and said Yamina will go to the opposition “in light of the Prime Minister’s blatant disdain for Yamina and its voters.”
“The decision was made after repeated attempts to exhaust coalition negotiations with the Likud and Prime Minister Netanyahu, who chose to dismantle the rightwing bloc and his partnership with the right,” Yamina said. “Yamina will be a fighting but responsible opposition, which will support from the outside positive government decisions, such as applying sovereignty, provided is not accompanied by an expressed or implied recognition of a Palestinian state.”
Transport Minister Bezalel Smotrich told Reshet Bet radio on Sunday: “Netanyahu needs to decide whether he wants Yamina as a true and meaningful partner, as he does the Haredim. It is not a matter of portfolios but a matter of the ability to influence policy. Netanyahu sold out to Amir Peretz the authority to regulate the [illegal] Bedouin settlements in the Negev. It looks like a leftwing government led by Netanyahu in almost every aspect that matters to us.”
Smotrich added: “If they want us a partners, we will be willing to take responsibility and be a part of the government. Netanyahu knows exactly what we want. We are not scared of the opposition. There’s no way they’re going to split us apart.”
Likud officials rejected Yamina’s statement, saying, “If Yamina had received one more portfolio, it would have been rightwing enough for them? This is the first government in the history of the state to apply sovereignty over Judea and Samaria. It’s unfortunate that Yamina will not be a part of this just because of internal struggles within its ranks over the distribution of portfolios. We hope that Yamina will come back to their senses, show national responsibility and enter the government that will lead a historic move in the annals of Zionism.”
Is Yamina really heading to the opposition? It ain’t over till it’s over.