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Yesh Atid minister: Unlike predecessors, we will act responsibly in the opposition

Outgoing tourism chief Razvozov says party will back government when it agrees on matters, but fight back if needed; Meretz minister says Ben Gvir, Smotrich are ‘pyromaniacs’

Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov seen in Jerusalem, March 6, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov seen in Jerusalem, March 6, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov, whose Yesh Atid party is heading into the opposition, vowed Sunday that the faction will act responsibly in countering the incoming government, and not act as members of the Likud-led bloc did when they were in the opposition.

“We are not them,” Razvozov told Army Radio, referring to how the opposition bloc under Likud MK Benjamin Netanyahu had systematically voted against every government bill, including those they supported ideologically.

Netanyahu’s bloc of right-wing and religious parties won 64 seats in last week’s election for the Knesset, giving it a majority in the 120-seat parliament and the ability to oust Prime Minister Yair Lapid and his center-left bloc.

“We will be a responsible opposition. We will vote for whatever is best for the country. We aren’t playing personal or ego games,” Razvozov said, adding that he hoped the incoming government is a success “because this is our country. Whatever they do that is good, we will be there with them.”

But, he warned, “in any place where they harm sectors of the population… if they damage national interests we will stand strongly against them, we will fight it will all our might.”

The victorious bloc includes the far-right Religious Zionism party, whose members harbor extremist views regarding Arab Israelis and the Palestinians and openly attack the LGBT community.

Razvozov was asked about changes to the judicial selection committee, touted as a policy by incoming coalition members, which would give lawmakers a majority say in the panel that selects court judges.

He vowed that if there is a danger of politicization of the judicial system “of course we will oppose it with all our might, with all means available.”

Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu arrives to address supporters at the party’s campaign headquarters in Jerusalem early on November 2, 2022. (Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP)

Razvozov was also asked about accusations that Lapid’s campaign strategy led to the downfall of two key allies, Labor and Meretz. While Labor squeaked into the Knesset by just beating the threshold and winning four seats, Meretz failed to enter parliament.

Razvozov blamed Labor leader Merav Michaeli for refusing to merge with Meretz ahead of the elections, a move that many believe would have bettered both parties’ chances.

“We did everything for the mergers,” Razvozov said, referring to Lapid’s efforts to build such an alliance.

Later, Yair Golan, the deputy economics minister and a Meretz party member, attacked the expected incoming government, warning that it poses “tremendous danger” to the country.

We are in a “very, very, dangerous process,” he told Army Radio.

MK Yair Golan speaks during a conference hosted by Democrat TV in Jaffa, June 7, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

“The group of pyromaniacs who have taken the wheel will pass laws and regulations that will raise the tensions in the West Bank,” predicted Golan, a former deputy commander of the Israel Defense Forces.

“This is a bunch of ignoramuses and boors who have never really faced the responsibility of the security burden — they only know how to shout and scream,” he said of the far-right Religious Zionism party led by MK Bezalel Smotrich and the Otzma Yehudit party led by MK Itamar Ben Gvir.

“They have no idea how to manage security,” he said. While Smotrich served in a non-combat role in the army, Ben Gvir wasn’t called up for national service due to his extremist views.

Golan also rejected the idea that any parties in the current government would agree to join a Netanyahu-led government to prevent the far-right parties having power, nor would Netanyahu agree to such a development, Golan said, as he wants a government with the right-wing allies who have promised to pass legislation that would end Netanyahu’s corruption trial.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s National Unity party has denied that it would join a Netanyahu-led government in order to broaden and moderate it.

Netanyahu and his Likud party on Sunday engaged in negotiations with allied parties on securing their recommendation that he form the next government.

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