Netanyahu: ‘Bennett betraying voters, wants to be PM at all costs’

“There’s not a person in Israel who would have voted for you if they knew this is what you were going to do,” Netanyahu said, addressing Bennett.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

On the heels of Naftali Bennett’s bombshell statement on Sunday evening that his Yemina party will join a unity government with Opposition and Yesh Atid party leader Yair lapid, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had harsh words for his one-time coalition partner.

“There’s not a person in Israel who would have voted for you if they knew this is what you were going to do,” Netanyahu said, addressing Bennett.

Bennett’s willingness to partner with left-wing and center-left parties is a “betrayal” of Yemina voters, Netanyahu said, adding that such a government is “dangerous for the security and dangerous for the future” of Israel.

Netanyahu emphasized that he had been chosen by nearly two million Israelis while Bennett could potentially become prime minister with just seven mandates.

Netanyahu said he has the support of “almost one million Likud votes, and another million [voters for parties allied with Likud] who wanted me as the head of a right-wing government. They voted for me because of my loyalty to the State of Israel and its security and its future.”

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Addressing the claim that there was no right-wing government possible even if he joined a coalition with Likud, Netanyahu said Bennett is “lying.”

He brought up Bennett’s pledge, signed on live TV, not to allow Lapid to become prime minister, even within the framework of a rotation agreement.

Dismissing Bennett’s statement that he favored a coalition government over fifth elections to spare the public from going to the polls once again, Netanyahu suggested that the Yemina head had an ulterior motive.

“[Bennett] doesn’t care about the government, his voters, or the country. He doesn’t want fifth elections because he knows he’ll be [destroyed.] He won’t pass the electoral threshold,” said Netanyahu.

“This [is happening] because Bennett wants to be prime minister at any cost. He wants to be prime minister for two years, and one year [which Netanyahu offered] wouldn’t be enough.”

Delving into what he said are serious security issues with a government that includes left-wing lawmakers, Netanyahu asked the Israeli public to imagine a security council meeting with “Yair Lapid, Nitzan Horowitz, Merav Michaeli and Tamar Zandberg” present.

“How will that look in our enemies’ eyes? They’re going to stand up to Iran? They’ll fight Hamas?”

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Referencing potential laws that opposition lawmakers floated that directly target Netanyahu, including bills that would bar a person facing criminal charges from holding the position of prime minister and term limits, he said such laws were a sign of a shift away from democracy.

These bills are reminiscent of “so-called democracy in North Korea, Iran, and Syria,” Netanyahu charged.

He concluded his speech by calling on right-wing lawmakers to “vote with their consciences” and refuse to support the coalition.

“Don’t betray your voters,” Netanyahu said. “But even more than that, don’t betray yourselves.”

“A right-winger doesn’t vote for a left-wing government. That’s the simple truth,” he declared.