Veteran Likud politician Yuval Steinitz announced on Tuesday that he will not be running in the next election and is resigning from politics.
Steinitz, 64, who served in the Knesset for 23 years, has held the positions of intelligence minister, finance minister, energy minister, and the chairman of the Knesset’s powerful Foreign Affairs and Security Committee.
He published a video on social media, stating: “A short while ago, I informed Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu on my decision not to run in the upcoming elections. After 23 years as an MK… I felt that the time has come for my family and I to breathe some fresh air.”
“I am proud of my accomplishments in my various positions over the years in economy, foreign policy, and security. Some are of historic significance, including uncovering the Syrian nuclear program, creating the first-ever two-year state budget in the world, bringing Israel into the OECD, bringing our economy out of the 2009-2012 global economic crisis, and the gas deal which transformed Israel into an energy power.”
An interesting fact about Steinitz is that he grew up in a politically liberal family and began his political career in the early 1980s as a left-wing activist and member of the Peace Now movement. After ten years of political activism, he changed his political views in the wake of his reservations about the signing of the Oslo Accords and his misgivings about Egypt’s massive military buildup following the Israel-Egypt peace deal.
Some believe that Steinitz’s resignation is connected to the fact that his wife, Gila Kanfei-Steinitz, was recently appointed as a judge to the Supreme Court, the first Sephardi female judge to serve in the court. Although the Likud supported her appointment, Likud and other right-wing MKs are very critical of the Supreme Court for its often left-leaning rulings.
Following the announcement, Netanyahu and many other politicians praised Steinitz highly for his many accomplishments, with Netanyahu noting his successful economic policies and his role in advancing the legislation required to extract natural gas from Israel’s economic waters.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)