Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelah, the party's candidate for the chairmanship of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee sharply criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday for taking months to make a decision regarding the leadership of the panel.
"Nothing happened for six months, just like the decision concerning the Governor of the Bank of Israel and the defense budget," Shelah said, speaking at a culture event at The Habima Theater on Saturday.
"The decision to 'compensate me' with the role as deputy minister is an invention on the part of the prime minister, aimed to remove MK Danny Danon from his role; this isn't a demand that we made."
Shelah added that "various factions in the coalition, including Lieberman who returned to the role of Foreign Minister after he was acquitted, supported my nomination. They all had discussions with the prime minister, and yet nothing happened for six months."
Finance Minister Yair Lapid with Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelah. 'Nothing happened for six months' (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
MK Shelah also commented on the failure of negotiations with the Palestinians, claiming that during nine months, no real negotiations took place.
"There was a blockade of mistrust between the parties and the Americans didn't know how to bridge between them," the Yesh Atid member said. "It should be said honestly: The Palestinians are responsible for the failure of negotiations no less than we are."
As for the Yesh Atid party's future in the coalition, Shelah said: "This government has an agenda in other arenas, which are unrelated to the peace negotiations. We have promoted the equal share of the burden law and are fighting for the surrogacy law and civil marriage; we will not give up.
"I believe that the peace negotiations will be renewed, and if that indeed happens, it is because Yesh Atid has continued to sit in the coalition. If we leave the coalition, will someone better arrive?", Shelah questioned.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yair Lapid struck a deal Monday that will see Likud take control of the influential Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in the Knesset.
The committee will be headed in rotation by Deputy Freign Minister Zeev Elkin and coalition chairman Yariv Levin, both of the Likud, a move approved by the panel itself.
Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelah, his party's candidate for the committee, lost out on the position, but instead a representative from Lapid's party will be appointed as an additional deputy minister either at the Defense or Foreign Ministries. Meanwhile, Shelah has made it clear he is not interested in a deputy minister's post.