Monday, February 16, 2009

Saar: Gov't Will be Nationalist

Hillel Fendel Saar: Gov't Will be Nationalist

MK Gideon Saar, #2 in the Likud and a leading candidate for a top ministerial post if and when Binyamin Netanyahu forms the upcoming government, has issued yet another reassurance to the religious and Zionist parties: “The new government will be based on our natural partners in the nationalist camp.”

“What is this we hear about a nationalist-bypass route,” asked Shimon Cohen of Arutz-7, “wherein the Likud, Kadima and Labor form a unity government of the large parties, thus obviating the need to take the religious parties?” “There is no such animal,” Saar said. “It is just a spin by Kadima to drive a wedge between the Likud and our natural partners on the right. The voters have voted nationalist, and we have said many times that the new government will be built along these lines, and will not be a unity government that leans to the left.”

“There has also been talk,” Cohen then asked, “that possibly Ehud Barak and some others from the Labor party would join the new government – what can you tell us about that?”

Saar hesitated, and then said, “At this point, we’re not dealing with such a thing. We have not hidden our opinion that Israel needs as broad a government as possible, but it has to be clear which path has won the elections and which one has lost. The voters rejected the path of the outgoing government that brought rockets to many places in Israel, exactly as we warned, and therefore we have to take a different path, and that’s what we will do.”

Cohen: “So why, if there are 65 MKs on the right, compared with 54 others – since the 11 MKs of the Arab parties won’t join any government – then why is the Likud so zealously trying to bring another party into the government?”

Saar: “There is no zeal, there is just a desire to do so, given the heavy challenges that face us…”

Cohen: “There is a serious question about Netanyahu working with the new US administration under Obama. It’s clear that Obama is not as hawkish as the Bush government. What can you answer?”

Saar: “Netanyahu and nationalist governments have worked well with Clinton and with Democratic administrations in the past, and the same will happen this time. A Netanyahu-headed government will be able to maintain both our special relationship with the U.S. and Israel’s vital interests. There have been many incidents in the past in which we and the U.S. had differences of opinion. For instance, even Ronald Reagan, our very good friend, objected when we struck the nuclear reactor in Iraq in the 1980s – yet our friendship was maintained.”

A-7: “Back on the issue of forming a coalition government: How do you think the issues dividing Shas and Yisrael Beiteinu – specifically, the latter’s demand for civil marriage – can be resolved?”

Saar: “I think it can be resolved, because once we define the problem as those who cannot be married according to Jewish Law, there is no reason not to find a solution in the form of civil marriage for that sector and not for the entire population. I also think that the parties involved – Yisrael Beiteinu, Shas and United

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