Naftali Bennett again accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party of planning to invite Zionist Union to join the governing coalition after the March 17 election, at the expense of Bennett’s Habayit Hayehudi party.
Bennett’s remarks came in response to an interview Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon gave to Army Radio on Thursday, in which the Likud figure refused to rule out the formation of a national unity government.
“We haven’t said ‘no’ to anything. First we must create a natural bloc, a natural coalition of the rightist bloc, and then we’ll decide what to do,” Ya’alon said. He added that anyone who has done the math recognizes, assuming that the opinion polls are accurate, that “the only person who will be able to form a government is Netanyahu.”
Bennett was swift to react to the interview on his Facebook page, writing, “The mask has been removed, Likud wants to form a government with “Zionist Union heads Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni,” without Habayit Hayehudi, like the last time,” in an allusion to the aftermath of the 2013 election. Then, Bennett wrote, “Likud brought in Tzipi (with only six Knesset seats!), and they tried their hardest to leave us outside. Only a large Habayit Hayehudi can impose a government without the left on Likud.”
Bennett’s attack on Likud was presumably intended to break his party’s free fall in the polls that began with the short-lived addition of former soccer star Eli Ohana to its slate of candidates. An Israel Channel 10 television poll published on Wednesday gave Habayit Hayehudi just 11 Knesset seats, an all-time low, presumably due in part to the popularity boost that Netanyahu’s address to the U.S. Congress gave to Likud.