Netanyahu pours fire on right-wing rival Bennett for readiness to join Left

“You are willing to do anything to be the left-wing prime minister in the embrace of the Left. It will collapse in no time,” Netanyahu said.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took off his gloves against Yemina party leader Naftali Bennett in a no-holds-barred news conference on Wednesday evening, in which he said that Bennett was prepared to join the opposition to satisfy his “lust” for the premiership.

“The public gave the right 65 seats,” Netanyahu said. “Contrary to your claims, Naftali, you are doing everything to not form a right-wing government. You do everything to be prime minister with seven seats. Your only way is to be the prime minister of a left-wing government. In practice, this is a government with 50 MKs from the left and the extreme left.”

Netanyahu, as he did in a press conference on Tuesday, said the best solution was for a direct election for prime minister. The prime minister would be given additional parliamentary powers to form a government.

Netanyahu argued that is what the public wanted, including Bennett’s own supporters.

The prime minister said that the only thing standing between those direct elections taking place was Bennett’s refusal to support it. Netanyahu insisted that Bennett was motivated by personal ambition, a “lust” for rule.

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He said it was Bennett’s intention to join with opposition leader Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid and its satellite parties. Netanyahu said it would be a dysfunctional government, in which a mixture of left-wing and extreme left-wing parties would be led by a right-wing leader (Bennett) and would soon lead to a fifth round of elections.

“You are willing to do anything to be the left-wing prime minister in the embrace of the Left. It will collapse in no time,” Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu argued that Bennett’s alleged plan was “undemocratic” as the public voted in 65 right-wing Knesset members, showing it wanted a stable, right-wing government.

He also said Bennett was disregarding his earlier commitments. “It is simply a spit in the face of democracy and a violation of the explicit promises you made, that you will not sit with Lapid and the Left,” Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu’s presser immediately followed one by Bennett, who admitted for the first time that he was prepared to work with the left-wing parties to form a national unity government if a right-wing solution couldn’t be found.

“The State of Israel urgently needs a good, stable and functioning government,” Bennett said. “There are lots of small businesses trying to recover, and millions of students who need special help after the difficult corona year… The citizens of Israel are tired of the quarrels, they want a government that works for them.”

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“Netanyahu is basically saying – ‘If I do not have a government, no one will have a government. We will go to the polls again, fifth, sixth and seventh,'” Bennett said.

“It is impossible to continue like this. The State of Israel cannot be held hostage by politicians. More elections mean billions more in the trash, instead of to education and infrastructure… While the people want a government, Netanyahu prefers elections. I said and I repeat – ‘I will not agree to that.’

“The Likud’s attacks were predictable and they do not impress me. It seems to me that the right-wing public is also fed up with this style. I am committed to my values ​​and the citizens of the State of Israel,” he said.