Labor leader predicts he’ll be elected PM in November 2018
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Labor leader predicts he’ll be elected PM in November 2018

Avi Gabbay criticizes legislation aimed at shuttering minimarkets on Shabbat; former head of police anti-fraud unit: Netanyahu unfit for office

Labor chairman Avi Gabbay leads a faction meeting at the Knesset on January 1, 2018. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Labor chairman Avi Gabbay leads a faction meeting at the Knesset on January 1, 2018. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Labor chairman Avi Gabbay predicted Saturday that Israel will hold elections this November, and that he will be elected prime minister.

Speaking at a cultural event in Modiin, Gabbay said that immediate elections were necessary for the betterment of the country, which was currently being run by a government “preoccupied with itself and its survival.”

When pressed for a more specific prediction, Gabbay said that he expected a vote in November.

The Labor leader went on to criticize legislation aimed at shuttering shops and convenience stores on the Sabbath. “Each local authority should determine its own rules and decide according to the nature of the residents whether to open minimarkets on Shabbat or not,” he said.

The bill, sponsored by Shas leader and Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, would grant his ministry the power to oversee and reject local ordinances relating to whether business may remain open on Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest that runs from Friday evening through Saturday night. The measure came after the High Court upheld Tel Aviv’s right to allow markets to stay open on Shabbat.

Likud MK Sharren Haskel (R) speaks at a cultural event in Beersheba on January 6, 2018. (Screen capture/YouTube)

Meanwhile the former head of police’s Lahav 433 anti-fraud unit, Yoav Segalovitz, said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was unfit for office.

At a separate cultural event in Beersheba, Segalovitz, now a member of the opposition’s Yesh Atid party, criticized the coalition’s silence on the two ongoing criminal investigations of the premier.

“The prime minister’s entire political surroundings are utterly mute. They don’t say a word,” Segalovitz said. “None of the people around him, none of the leaders, say ‘This has gone too far.'”

Netanyahu is under investigation in two separate criminal probes. Police are reportedly planning to recommend that he stand trial over suspicions he received illegal gifts and favors from businessmen while advancing their interests. In a second probe, investigators are looking into an alleged quid pro quo deal between Netanyahu and the publisher of the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper.

Netanyahu has denied wrongdoing in both cases.

Also in Beersheba, Likud MK Sharren Haskel pledged that she would not support the controversial Shabbat legislation. “The minimarkets law is not a law of the Likud. It is the law of a party that barely passes the electoral threshold and is trying to impose a lifestyle on an entire public,” she said, referring to the ultra-Orthodox Shas party.

“Therefore, I announced [last week] that I would not be able to support such a law. I abstained in voting for it in the first reading, and I will do the same in future readings as well,” she said.

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