Netanyahu to Bennett: Apologize or Your Seat in Government Is at Stake

Prime Minister's Bureau passes message to Habayit Hayehudi chairman saying 'nobody will teach Netanyahu what love of Israel is.'

ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid
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ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's bureau has informed Economy Minister and Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett that he must apologize "clearly and sharply, in public" for his personal attacks against Netanyahu over the last few days or the coalition would be in danger.

"It was clarified to Bennett that there a lack of apology comes at a price," a senior source in the Prime Minister's Bureau said. "Nobody will teach Netanyahu what love of Israel is, and what concern for the security of its citizens is. With all of Bennett's claims, it's not clear why he's stuck to a seat in the government."

Netanyahu's bureau called Bennett "cheeky" and said "his type of irresponsibility will not be passed over quietly."

The source added that Bennett's behavior also endangered the interests of the residents of West Bank settlements.

"If he doesn't apologize, he endangers the composition of the current government," said Netanyahu's bureau. "We have enough alternatives to Habayit Hayehudi. A government without Bennett can continue to worry about the security of the state just like every government before him."

The controversy exploded Sunday with Bennett's unprecedented attack against Netanyahu's suggestion that Israelis could live under Palestinian rule.

Bennett was responding to remarks made by Netanyahu at the World Economic Forum in Davos, where he said he has no intention of uprooting a single settlement and suggested settlers could remain outside Israel's borders under a peace agreement with the Palestinians.

Bennett said Netanyahu's comments reflect "ethical befuddlement" and that "whoever even considers having Jews live in the Land of Israel under Palestinian sovereignty undermines our presence in Tel Aviv.

IllustrationCredit: Eran Wolkowski
Naftali Bennett, Habayit Hayehudi leader.Credit: Nir Keidar
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and Habayit Hayehudi leader Naftali Bennett, April 2013.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi

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