Bennett, Shaked: Netanyahu is going after our voters again

The party leaders of Yemina charge that despite promises not to draw votes from parties to his right, Netanyahu is aiming at growing the Likud at their expense.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The right-wing Yemina faction is complaining over recent days that despite promises to the contrary, the prime minister is trying to weaken them before the March elections.

Both Netanyahu’s Likud and Yemina are part of a 55-member, right-wing bloc that stood together to stop the formation of a left-wing government after the September elections.

Now, top Yemina leaders are charging that instead of being loyal to those who were loyal to him, Netanyahu is making unfounded accusations against their party to scare away potential voters and bring them to the Likud.

At many of his campaign stops, Netanyahu is claiming that Yemina leaders Ayelet Shaked and Defense Minister Naftali Bennett are discussing with Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz how they could join a government in his charge, instead of sticking with the Likud. Public statements to this effect have also been made in the Likud’s name to the press.

According to Channel 13 News reporter Sefi Ovadia, the reason Yemina is being targeted is that Netanyahu sees that his base is not excited enough to go to the polls due solely to his political accomplishments.

“Out of concern that Blue and White will be much bigger [Yemina says] he will begin cannibalizing the right-wing bloc like we saw in the previous elections, and they want to signal to him that ‘we’re paying attention to these messages and would be happy if you’d stop,’” Ovadia said on Monday’s news show.

The Likud has criticized Yemina for urging the immediate annexation of areas of the country that President Donald Trump’s peace plan envisions as being part of Israel in a future arrangement with the Palestinians.

Immigration and Integration Minister Yoav Galant told Israel Radio’s Second Station Tuesday, “When someone comes after the presentation of a plan that was in the works for three years and says, ‘Apply sovereignty now,’ that’s childish. Even for the sake of a political campaign, it’s childish.”

Bennett and Shaked have stressed the need for a strong right-wing party that will stand with Netanyahu and get the most out of the peace plan for Israel while blocking the formation of a Palestinian state. They say such a state would become a base for terror and endanger Israel.