עיסוואי פריג'
Issawi Frej
Photo: Yariv Katz
Yamina leader Naftali Bennett

Meretz lawmaker says party doesn't rule out joining Bennett-led coalition

Issawi Frej tells Ynet the left-wing party sees replacing Netanyahu as its top priority and for that it is willing to 'compromise'; adds Bennett is no different from Rivlin, who supports West Bank annexation but also 'embraces everyone'

Alexandra Lukash, Attila Somfalvi |
Published: 03.25.21 , 11:44
A lawmaker from the left-wing Meretz party said Thursday the faction does not rule out joining a government led by Yamina leader Naftali Bennett.
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  • Following Tuesday's elections, no clear winner has emerged and the Knesset's future now hangs in the balance. Bennett, along with Ra'am's leader Mansour Abbas, have emerged as kingmakers, holding key seats for a chance to form a government as neither bloc appears as it can form a coalition.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    נפתלי בנט
    נפתלי בנט
    Yamina leader Naftali Bennett
    (Photo: AP)
    Issawi Frej told Ynet the party's main goal is to replace Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "I do not rule out anything, there is a goal, let's focus on it. There is something called a compromise ... We do not want a prime minister under an indictment to run our government," he said.
    "The first step should be to replace the Speaker of the Knesset. We could have done it in the previous Knesset, which would have changed the game."
    The lawmaker added it's possible for Meretz to back someone with an opposing ideology, adding that President Reuven Rivlin is also someone who supports certain right-wing policies, such as annexation of the West Bank, but remains someone who "embraces everyone".
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    עיסוואי פריג'
    עיסוואי פריג'
    Issawi Frej
    (Photo: Yariv Katz)
    He also told Ra'am leader to "come home" by joining the anti-Netanyahu bloc. "I know Mansour and all the leadership around him personally, and I am in constant dialogue with them. They will not be with Bibi. They will be in our camp, they will not dare, the public will not let them."
    Abbas, however, on several occasions said he will not rule out joining a Netanyahu-led government, having developed close relations with the prime minister. Some in the right-wing bloc, meanwhile, including Religious Zionist Party leader Betzalel Smotrich, said they will not sit in a coalition supported by an Arab party.
    Frej also thanked Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid for supporting smaller left-wing and centrist parties to strenghten the anti-Netanyahu bloc.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    יאיר לפיד במטה יש עתיד
    יאיר לפיד במטה יש עתיד
    Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid
    (Photo: AP)
    "When I look at our parties, I have to say, 'well done' to Yair Lapid, who acted as the camp's leader. Lapid has a share in the achievements of Meretz, Labor and Blue & White."
    Frej served as an MK for the left wing party from 2013 to 2019 and is currently placed at fifth spot on the faction's list, which according to the latest results has six Knesset seats.
    Final election results are expected sometime on Friday.
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