What did rogue Yamina MK discuss with former PM Netanyahu?

Amichai Chikli has yet to officially part ways with Yamina. Will he join the Likud?

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

MK Amichai Chikli
MK Amichai Chikli
צילום: יצחק קלמן

After voting against the establishment of the current government, despite being a member of the party whose support was key to setting it up, Yamina MK Amichai Chikli is considering the next steps to take and plotting his future political course.

According to a report on Channel 13, Chikli met with former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week, on Tuesday, at the Prime Minister’s Residence on Balfour Street in Jerusalem. The two talked for an extended period of time, discussing, among other things, whether Chikli should leave the Yamina party for the Likud, in which event Netanyahu might offer him his personal support when the party holds its primaries.

Chikli’s other realistic option is to form a one-man faction within the Knesset, as it is almost certain that he has no intention of repairing his breaches with Yamina party head and now Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. He has yet to visibly attach himself to the opposition and attend opposition party meetings, and statements he has made recently suggest that he will continue to vote with his party on issues where he can support right-wing causes and thereby fulfill his promises to his voters.

If he does officially leave the Yamina party, Chikli will be subject to punitive sanctions – he will not be permitted to serve as a minister or deputy minister in the present Knesset session; he will also not be permitted to run for the next Knesset on the list of any party currently in the Knesset. However, he would be permitted to serve on and even head parliamentary committees, although he would not be allowed to present a vote of no-confidence in the government.

Amichai Chikli started out in his political career with the New Right party, established by Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked in 2019, after they broke with the Jewish Home party. When New Right failed to cross the electoral threshold in that year’s elections, Chikli attached himself to Netanyahu’s Likud and only returned to Bennett later, placing fifth on the Yamina party’s slate.

He has been singled out for praise several times by former Prime Minister Netanyahu, who referred to him in his Knesset speech early this week, calling him a “tzaddik” (righteous man), and saying: “There is one tzaddik in this Sodom – MK Amichai Chikli. He is the only one among these illusory right-wingers – the only one who has remained true to his values and the will of his voters. He is not the defector – the rest of Yamina’s MKs are the real defectors.”

Abashed, Chikli lowered his gaze.