Culture Minister Miri Regev said that she hopes to be Israel’s next prime minister, in a segment of an interview broadcast Thursday.
Asked by Hadashot news if she hopes one day to lead the country, Regev stressed that the discussion was moot as long as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remained in the position, calling him “an excellent prime minister.”
However, she said that the time had come for Israel to have a woman prime minister.
“I think that after 70 years, the state and society are ripe for a woman prime minister,” she said, apparently overlooking the fact that Golda Meir was Israel’s prime minister from 1969 to 1974.
Regev was asked why her name was not floated as a possible successor to Netanyahu. “They talk about [Gideon] Sa’ar, [Israel] Katz; they even speak about [Yuli] Edelstein, but your name isn’t there,” the interviewer said.
“The difference between them and me is that they have announced that they see themselves as candidates,” Regev answered. “I think that it is not the time to speak about it, because we have an excellent prime minister, a prime minister who has already been chosen to be our next head of the Likud party.”
Regev, 52, a controversial and outspoken Netanyahu loyalist, was named acting prime minister in June while Netanyahu traveled to Greece, marking the first time a woman was appointed as acting prime minister during his tenure. She also briefly served as acting prime minister in October while Netanyahu underwent a minor medical procedure.
During her stint as culture minister, Regev has provoked outcry with threats to remove funding from events and organizations that are not in keeping with her right-wing, conservative views.
Regev was first appointed as a minister in 2015. She has been a Likud Knesset member since 2009, having been elected to the party list after serving as the Israel Defense Forces spokesperson.
Were she to become prime minister, she would be the first person from a Sephardic background to lead the country. Her father was from Morocco and her mother from Spain.
Netanyahu is battling multiple investigations into suspected corruption, as well as police recommendations that he stand trial for bribery, and could be forced to step down if he is indicted.
The full Hadashot interview is to be broadcast over the weekend.