Not too long after his victory in the party primary race, Avi Gabbai is for many a person bringing fresh hope to the party. Polls view his election favorably. However, Shas leader Aryeh Deri stated that even if Machane Tzioni earns more votes than Likud in the next elections, it will be very difficult-to-impossible for Gabbai to serve as prime minister.
Speaking to the Major Rishon newspaper, Deri addressed Gabbai’s victory and recent statements made by him, adding Gabbai has spoken out more harshly than Yair Lapid on issues that are paramount to the chareidi parties.
“Who would have dreamed that they would be the heirs of Golda Meir, Ben-Gurion, Moshe Dayan or Levi Eshkol? There is a major change and this is due to Shas. Unfortunately, Gabbai lacks experience. In an interview that he gave last week pertaining to religion and state, the Kosel and giyur, and he said things that even Yair Lapid would not dare to say” Deri explained.
In addition, Deri rejects cooperation with Lapid and declares that he will recommend only the right-wing candidate: “Lapid is not a partner at all, and we have nothing to talk to him about and for as long as the voting method imposes on us the task of recommending the president, we will always recommend a right-wing candidate. We have good partners: Bayit Yehudi, Kahlon and Liberman”.
On his relationship with Bayit Yehudi he added “We have left the difficulties of the past and we are working with Naftali and Ayelet, and everyone understood a strategy that does not have a better government.”
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)