search

Yamina’s ex-director lets fly at rebel MK Silman: She only had her next post in mind

‘They can lie as much as they want, but I was with them and saw it,’ Stella Weinstein says of party members who defied government, helping bring down Bennett-led coalition

Outgoing Prime Minister Naftali Bennett after a press conference at the Israeli parliament at which he announced he will not be running in the next elections. Ayelet Shaked, the new Yamina party leader, is at right. Stella Weinstein, Yamina's outgoing CEO, is at center, June 29, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Outgoing Prime Minister Naftali Bennett after a press conference at the Israeli parliament at which he announced he will not be running in the next elections. Ayelet Shaked, the new Yamina party leader, is at right. Stella Weinstein, Yamina's outgoing CEO, is at center, June 29, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Stella Weinstein, who served as the director-general of former prime minister Naftali Bennett’s Yamina party before resigning this past week, revealed her unfiltered views on Saturday about rebel faction members, slamming those who ultimately helped bring about the coalition’s collapse.

Weinstein, speaking at a conference in Rishon Lezion, blasted rebel Yamina MK Idit Silman, who pulled her support from the government in April in one of the first moves that eventually led to the coalition falling apart last month.

In making the move, Silman “only had her next job in sight,” Weinstein claimed, apparently referring to a position she was reportedly promised in a potential future government headed by current opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu.

“[She] believes in the common good, a friend of Ibtisam Mara’ana,” Weinstein was quoted by Channel 12 news as saying, referring to an Arab lawmaker from the coalition’s Labor party.

“[She] believes in two states for two peoples. She told me that, and I have no problem to be confronted about it,” Weinstein added without elaborating, apparently referring to a negotiated two-state solution with the Palestinians, which Yamina staunchly opposes.

Silman said she resigned from the coalition over issues pertaining to religion and state on which agreements were violated by the government. She has claimed she was not promised anything in exchange for resigning from the coalition.

“She tried to get a role with Yesh Atid and Blue and White,” Weinstein said, referring to Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s parties, respectively. “And if she could get the Joint List to join, she would go there too. I say this sarcastically of course, but the meaning is clear.”

MKs Idit Silman (R) and Nir Orbach arrive for a Yamina faction meeting at the Knesset on May 16, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

“There is no ideology. After all, [Nir] Orbach also had queasiness,” Weinstein added, referring to another Yamina MK who, while having major issues with the government from the very beginning, sat on the fence for a long time before announcing his intention to quit the coalition last month.

“In the end, in the ‘money time,’ she was only racing for a [political] job. They can lie as much as they want, but I was with them and saw it,” she said.

Weinstein also said there was a “significant difference” between Bennett’s way of thinking and that of the party’s former No. 2, Ayelet Shaked, who has now become Yamina’s leader following Bennett’s declared timeout from politics.

“At the time, I told [Bennett] that we need to oust [Amichai] Chikli immediately because he did not vote for the formation of the coalition,” Weinstein said, referring to another renegade Yamina MK who opposed the coalition from the start and was officially declared a defector nearly a year later.

But “[Bennett] said [Chikli] was a man of values, and when he would have the option to vote for something important for Israel, he would vote with us,” she said.

MK Amichai Chikli at a Knesset House Committee meeting on the Yamina party’s request to declare him a ‘defector,’ on April 25, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

In all, Chikli voted against Yamina’s position 754 times, including against the state budget and bills he would normally ideologically support, according to the party.

“Throughout this period, Chikli was against [the coalition], clear and simple. On the other hand, Silman had always been in favor,” she said.

Responding to Weinstein’s comments, Yamina sources said she was largely to blame for the party’s “lack of success.”

“Stella Weinstein didn’t do anything for the party,” the unnamed sources were quoted as saying by the Israel National News site.

Weinstein resigned from the party after Bennett announced on Wednesday that he will not run in the next election on November 1.

Bennett is set to remain in the caretaker government — now headed by Lapid — as alternate prime minister.

read more:

We have a new, improved comments system. To comment, simply register or sign in.

Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed