Bennett Says His Party Remain Loyal to Government, No Elections in Offing

In interviews with Israel's main TV channels, Bennett also addressed the deteriorating security situation, cooperation with Netanyahu and the Joint List, and why he doesn't speak to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

new-hdc-logo
Haaretz
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at the government meeting on Sunday.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at the government meeting on Sunday.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg
new-hdc-logo
Haaretz

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett remained resolute about the state of his fraying coalition in a series of interviews with Israel's main television stations on Monday.

Speaking to Channel 13 News, Bennett said that all members of his Yamina party and the heads of all the parties in the governing coalition "are committed to the government" and that he won’t cooperate with opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud). The government will continue “showing that people from the Zionist left and the right can work together,” he added.

'Putin heard my question. His entire demeanor changed:' LISTEN to Susan Glasser

The prime minister also said that he does not predict that elections are imminent. "I don't believe that we need elections now or that there will be elections now," he told Channel 12 News. The establishment of his unity government last June staved off a fifth election in over two years.

"There is a consensus in my party and in the coalition that going to the pools is a disaster. We are at a crossroads: Do we unite and overcome the problems, or do we return to paralysis? It was not an easy week," Bennett continued.

He also reiterated his claim that pressure from Netanyahu and Religious Zionism leader Bezalel Smotrich was behind Idit Silman's defection last week, which left the coalition short of a majority for the first time in 10 months.

Responding to the deteriorating security situation in the country, Bennett slammed the opposition's conduct: "Instead of providing backup, the opposition is blaming the government for murder and other shocking things. This is not the way," he said.

The way to defeat terrorism "is to refrain from tying the security services’ hands" and “go on the offensive against the sources of terror – in Jenin, Yabad, Syria and Iran,” he continued.

Because recent attacks have been lone-wolf operations, “it’s hard for intelligence to know what’s going through the head of a young man with a rifle,” Bennett added. “But here, too, we’re doing a great deal.”

The defense establishment is working to close gaps in the separation fence after “a decade of neglect,” he continued, and it’s employing a “carrot and stick” policy in the West Bank. “Anyone who doesn’t want to harm us will go to work. I prefer that workers come through in a controlled fashion rather than having all the illegals, as has happened for decades.”

The prime minister said he refuses to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas because "at this very moment, he’s inciting the next generation to terror while also paying terrorists’ salaries."

Regarding Joint List Chairman Ayman Odeh’s statements urging Israeli Arabs not to serve in the security forces, Bennett said he considered Odeh's remark “a criminal offense.” Though his coalition lacks a majority, Bennett ruled out cooperating with the Joint List, which he said "isn’t a legitimate ally.”

Likud said in response that “Bennett, who broke all his promises to his voters, continued his incessant lying this evening. This week, Bennett lost his Knesset majority, so he’s spreading lies against Idit Silman, who, unlike him, remained loyal to the principles she was elected on. Bennett understands that his story is over, and it’s time for a strong government to restore peace and security.”

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Trump and Netanyahu at the White House in Washington, in 2020.

Three Years Later, Israelis Find Out What Trump Really Thought of Netanyahu

German soldier.

The Rival Jewish Spies Who Almost Changed the Course of WWII

Rio. Not all Jewish men wear black hats.

What Does a Jew Look Like? The Brits Don't Seem to Know

Galon. “I’m coming to accomplish a specific mission: to increase Meretz’s strength and ensure that the party will not tread water around the electoral threshold. If Meretz will be large enough, it will be the basis for a Jewish-Arab partnership.” Daniel Tchetchik

'I Have No Illusions About Ending the Occupation, but the Government Needs the Left'

Soldiers using warfare devices made by the Israeli defense electronics company Elbit Systems.

Russia-Ukraine War Catapults Israeli Arms Industry to Global Stage

Flame and smoke rise during an Israeli air strike, amid Israel-Gaza fighting, in Gaza City August 6, 2022.

Israel Should End Gaza Operation Now, if It Can