Bennett urges public to support fragile gov’t, decries ‘incitement, fake news’ from opposition

Bennett calls on Israeli public to support his eclectic coalition, says majority of citizens in favor of current government.

By World Israel News Staff

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett urged the Israeli public to speak up against alleged incitement by opposition lawmakers in an open letter on Friday morning, saying that the majority of Israelis are happy with his governing coalition but need to make their voices heard.

The letter, which was released on the one year anniversary of Bennett becoming premier, comes as his embattled coalition has lost its majority, and threats of additional departures of lawmakers could see Israel go to its fifth round of elections in less than five years.

“About a year ago, the State of Israel came to one of the most difficult moments it has ever known,” Bennett wrote.

He recounted “chaos, endless election spin, government paralysis, cities of Lod and Acre burning in the face of a humiliated and conflicted government,” referencing widespread rioting in mixed Arab-Jewish municipalities during Operation Guardian of the Walls.

Israel showed “terrible weakness in the face of a murderous enemy that fired rockets at Jerusalem” during the conflict, due to former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “enslavement” of the government stemming from his “legal needs.”

Bennett said that forming a government which included the far-left Meretz party and Islamist Ra’am party was “one of the most difficult and most Zionist decisions of my life.”

It was necessary in order to spare the country from the chaos of yet another election, he explained.

Bennett then blamed opposition lawmakers, including Netanyahu, Joint List chair Ayman Odeh, and Religious Zionism MKs Itamar Ben-Gvir and Betzalel Smotrich, for incitement which he said posed a danger to his fragile coalition.

“They are sparking violence, extortion and ‘fake news,’ while the silent majority is happy with a calm and functioning government.”

He urged the public to voice their support for the current government, in order to strengthen the coalition and avoid yet another round of elections.

Bennett’s assertion that the “silent majority” of the public supports his government conflicts with opinion polls, which indicate that a plurality of Israelis believe that former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is the best candidate to lead the country.

However, while polls show that Netanyahu’s Likud party would likely gain seats in a fresh round of elections, the party would not be able to form a majority government, creating a return to Israel’s years-long political gridlock.