In bombshell recordings, Shaked calls Netanyahus ‘tyrants’ with ‘lust for power’

Yamina party leader Ayelet Shaked arrives for a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his office in Jerusalem on September 18, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Yamina party leader Ayelet Shaked arrives for a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his office in Jerusalem on September 18, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Channel 12 broadcasts bombshell recordings of Yamina MK Ayelet Shaked, in which she terms Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, “dictators” and “tyrants” with a “lust for power,” and says he cares only about his ongoing corruption trial.

The recordings come as Netanyahu has attempted to draw Yamina into a right-wing coalition, with his deadline for forming a government set to expire tomorrow night.

“Because of his trial, he’ll move even further to the right,” Shaked is heard saying of Netanyahu.” It’s the opposite of [former prime minister Ariel] Sharon [who moved from right to center as prime minister]. It’s true that the only thing he cares about now is his trial. He absolutely does not care about anything else. It’s true… all his considerations, his behavior, his management, all revolve around his trial,” Shaked is heard saying in the Channel 12 excerpts.

“It’s true that he [Netanyahu] has to go. He has to go. But I said to Gideon [Sa’ar], there is a country [to run]. So what now? You’ll build this absurd coalition, with this and that [party], because he has to go?” she continues, referring to negotiations to establish a coalition made up of right-wing, centrist, and left-wing parties in a bid to replace Netanyahu.

Former justice minister and Yamina lawmaker Ayelet Shaked speaks at the Maariv conference in Herzliya, on February 26, 2020. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Shaked emphasizes that she is seeking to prevent such a government from being formed. But she indicates that Yamina will ally with Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid and establish a coalition if the only alternative to doing so would be the fifth round of elections in barely two years.

Left: Head of the Yamina party Naftali Bennett gives a press conference at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on April 21, 2021; Right: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a press conference at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on April 21, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

“He [Netanyahu] has 30 seats. Look, he’s afraid to go for a pardon and a plea bargain process, because he’s scared of it. He’s scared that ultimately he’ll have to plead guilty and it won’t work out… After all, he’s a very paranoid man. So he’s afraid of it,” Shaked is heard saying.

“As for the presidency, he wants to remain in power. He has a lust for power — he and his wife. They’re like tyrants. Like dictators. They’re not prepared to move aside. We’re not like that.”

Shaked further asserts that if Bennett receives endorsements from right-wing lawmakers to form a government, “he won’t go left.” She also expresses confidence that if Bennett gets the mandate, he will be able to get Sa’ar and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz into a right-wing government.

Shaked indicates Yamina is seeking to secure a deal with Netanyahu whereby Bennett will become prime minister for 1.5 years, rather than the one year offered by the Likud leader.

New Hope chair Gideon Sa’ar leads a faction meeting in the Knesset on April 26, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

She also describes alleged attempts by Likud to strong-arm New Hope’s Sa’ar into a government.

“The Likud has offered to pay Sa’ar’s debts.. they really pressed him. I’ve sat with him [Sa’ar] for hours. First of all, he’s right: Netanyahu must go. He’s correct about that, but what can you do? So I tell him [Sa’ar], there’s a framework whereby he won’t have a year [as prime minister at the start of a new coalition], and we’ll limit his term [later in the coalition]… It’ll be his last term. So live with one more term…. Gideon and Yvet [Liberman] truly think that Netanyahu is a danger to the State of Israel. They’re convinced of it… We don’t think so.”

She also says Religious Zionism leader Bezalel Smotrich, if he truly cared about the state, would work with Yamina to avoid a government reliant on the Islamist Ra’am. Smotrich pays less heed to the rabbis than Yamina, she says.

Also, now that Netanyahu has ‘koshered’ the Arabs, nobody will have any issues forming a government with them. That’s the great damage that has already been done,” she says, apparently referring to Netanyahu’s willingness to rely on Ra’am’s support.

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