"I can't recall everything that I've said; politics is about compromise," new Likud member Dr. Benny Begin told reporters in Tel Aviv in response to questions regarding the harsh criticism he had cast on party leader Benjamin Netanyahu in the past.
"I've noticed that people have been digging up my past statements; let me put it to you this way - both Bibi and I are 10 years older now, and this is how we must approach things after deciding to work together," he said.
On Sunday Begin, a former Likud cabinet minister who dropped out of politics and public life in 1999, announced his plans to compete for a place on the party's list for the 18th Knesset in the upcoming general elections.
Begin (L) and Netanyahu during press conference (Photo: Yaron Brener)
Speaking at the Likud headquarters in Tel Aviv with Netanyahu at his side, Begin, son of deceased prime minister Menachem Begin said, "The public has undergone a process of disillusionment twice – once in 2000 (second intifada) and again after the illusion of peace that followed the (Gaza) disengagement. We must prevent a third disillusionment.
Netanyahu told the press conference "nothing pleased me more than to hear that Benny was planning to return home to the Likud. All the other parties, including those that are criticizing us, would have grabbed him with both hands had they gotten the chance.
"I want to make use of (Begin's) experience, integrity and leadership to help effect change in Israel. First of all we must restore security, both on a national and personal level, revive the economy and transform the education system," Bibi said.
Asked how he would approach the peace negotiations if elected prime minister, Netanyahu said, "I never vowed to freeze the talks. We are not ruling out negotiations, but our positions are different. Conducting talks doesn't mean we have to cede everything."