Opposition ridicules Bennett after ultimatum about-face

Opposition members ridiculed Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett after he announced he would remain in the Netanyahu government.

By World Israel News Staff

Knesset opposition members had a field day after Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett reversed himself Monday, announcing  he would not be leaving the government even though Prime Minister Netanyahu refused to give him the defense portfolio.

Tamar Zandberg, head of the left-wing Meretz Party, tweeted, “What a giant gap between big words and hollow deeds. I only hope that Bibi and Bennett haven’t cooked up a pointless war with political aims and intend to sacrifice the lives of citizens and soldiers for their deal.”

Tzipi Livni, head of the opposition and the Zionist Union Party, said, “They’re all minor actors of the prime minister and the only danger today is to his personal seat. … The driver’s wheel for defense needs to be in our hands.”

Knesset Member Itzik Shmuli of the Zionist Union Party said, “Naftali Bennett revealed himself to be a toy gun, a slave of his rabbis. We had here panic, flight, submission. The Jewish Home tried to seize the stick from both ends and this didn’t work. They’re part of the failure of this government. We’ll do away with them – there will be a stronger opposition, more aggressive. Our purpose is to put an end to this cynical government.”

Bennett’s party delivered to the Netanyahu government an ultimatum on Wednesday, Nov. 14, saying they would leave the government, forcing early elections, if their leader didn’t receive the ministry of defense, which Avigdor Liberman had vacated the day before.

Media reports on Sunday made it appear that Netanyahu would give in to Bennett’s demand in order to save his now razor-thin 61 vote majority. However, those reports turned out to be incorrect.

Netanyahu instead announced Sunday in a special broadcast that he would  hold the position himself, “in order to ensure we’ll overcome our enemies. I know what to do and when to do it, and we will do it.”

Netanyahu criticized coalition ministers who would “go to elections now and abandon the battlefield,” calling it “irresponsible.”

“I worked hard and continue to work for the security of Israel,” he said.

In the end, it was Bennett who blinked, admitting in his announcement today, “You win some, you lose some.”