Justice minister Shaked: Next term will be Netanyahu’s last

Ayelet Shaked expects Netanyahu to win but that it will be his final term in office. 

By David Isaac, World Israel News

“I estimate that Netanyahu will be elected in the coming elections and that this will be his last term,” Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said in an interview with the Calcalist news site on Monday.

“He’s not young and we don’t know what will be with the investigations,” Shaked said, referring to the 69-year-old prime minister, who is being investigated in a number of corruption cases.

However, Shaked said that she opposed the idea of Israel’s attorney general filing charges against Benjamin Netanyahu two months before the elections, currently scheduled for April 9.

She refused to address the question of whether she would immediately withdraw from the government if the attorney general indicted Netanyahu. “I hope the cases will be closed,” she said.

“My opinion was and remains that until the final decision of the attorney general after a hearing there’s no need to do anything. If after the hearing it’s decided to indict then we’ll sit and think. We’ll learn what the charges are and we’ll decide what to do. According to the law, the prime minister can remain until the conclusion of the verdict,” Shaked said.

On Saturday evening, Shaked and Naftali Bennett, the education minister, split in a dramatic way from their current party, Jewish Home, in order to form a new party, named the New Right. Their move is being described in the Hebrew press as the “bang” or “explosion.”

Shaked and Bennett partly based their decision to start a new party on their belief that the Jewish Home had reached its peak of influence and could no longer impact Netanyahu’s decisions. Bennett said at the press conference that Netanyahu felt religious Zionists were “in his pocket.”

The new party will focus on uniting secular and religious Jews who are on the right of the political map. Shaked is secular. Bennett is religiously observant. The party they left, Jewish Home, is more overtly religious in its makeup, even though it welcomed the popular Shaked into its ranks.

Two polls following their announcement diverged on the results, with one showing the New Right taking 12 seats and another only six.

Shaked told Calcalist that she doesn’t think polls three months before the elections are relevant