Bennett: Disbanding Knesset ‘best decision for the country’

Bennett and Lapid are visibly moved as they listed their coalition’s achievements. 

By World Israel News Staff

Dissolving the 24th Knesset was “the best decision to make for Israel,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Monday evening following the dramatic announcement that will see Israel headed to elections for the fifth time in 40 months.

Standing beside Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, who will succeed Bennett as prime minister of a caretaker government until elections are held at the end of October, Bennett was visibly moved as he summarized the past year.

“A year ago I decided to embark on the hardest move of my life but also the most Zionist,” Bennett said.

“We formed a government that many thought was impossible. We extracted Israel from the terrible pit it was in. A year ago there was mass unemployment, a big deficit, riots, missiles on Jerusalem. There was paralysis on the part the government. With the help of God, we managed to form a government.”

“Now, dear citizens, we are facing you today in a very difficult moment, but with the understanding that we made the right decision for Israel,” he said.

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According to Bennett, the decision to disband the coalition came after reckoning with the fact that the Judea and Samaria would not be passed, something he said he couldn’t allow to happen.

The bill, which annually renews of the application of Israeli law in Judea and Samaria, failed to pass for the first time in 55 years earlier this month, marking a key defeat for the fragile coalition.

“I did not agree to harm Israel’s security,” he said.

Addressing Lapid, Bennett said: “I stand here with my friend Yair Lapid, who will soon take over as prime minister as per the agreement between us. Yair embodies virtues of responsibility and fairness and he represents a large portion of Israel’s public. He is a mensch.”

“I will stand by his side and help him with everything he needs,” Bennett concluded.

Lapid thanked Bennett for always “putting the country before his own personal interest.”

“I love you,” Lapid told Bennett.

“The friendship between us stood the test and encountered several obstacles, but it has always prevailed. He is an important, unique and brave Israeli leader, and I have no doubt that his place is in the country’s leadership for years to come.”

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Turning the future, Lapid said Israel needs to address many challenges, including the cost of living, the threats posed by Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah, and to “combat forces that threaten to make Israel undemocratic.”

“What is happening here tonight is further proof that the Israeli system is in desperate need of a profound change and a major overhaul. A year ago we started this path of correction, and we are continuing it now.”

“We need to return to a place of unity and not allow the forces of darkness unravel us from within. We need to remind ourselves that we love each other, love our country, and that only by working together can we win,” said the foreign minister.

Monday’s announcement came after months of uncertainty.

The government will introduce a bill to disperse the Knesset next week.

The government sworn in a little over a year ago was a coalition of ideologically disparate parties ranging from the right-wing Yamina, Yisrael Beiteinu and New Hope, to the centrist Yesh Atid and Blue and White, the left-wing Labor and Meretz and the Arab Islamist Ra’am party.

They were united in their desire to block Benjamin Netanyahu from continuing as prime minister.

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For his part Netanyahu on Monday hailed the collapse of Israel’s “worst ever government.”