Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party on Thursday released an English-language statement in which it committed to a peaceful transfer of power in Israel, if indeed a new government not led by Netanyahu is sworn in next week.
This is the first time the party has publicly addressed the issue since Yair Lapid announced last week that he has succeeded to form a coalition.
The statement, which wasn't published in Hebrew, came a day after CNN aired a segment comparing Netanyahu's reaction to the results of the last election, the fourth in two years, to former U.S. President Donald Trump's challenge of his election loss in 2020. The segment was titled “Netanyahu ripping a page from Trump's playbook.”
- Bibi, time to exit with dignity and prove the doomsayers wrong
- His rule slipping away, Netanyahu could bring Capitol insurrection to Israel
- Netanyahu had Adelson and Trump. Who are Bennett and Lapid's allies in D.C.?
The Likud statement seemed like a direct response to the CNN segment, in which quotes by Trump and Netanyahu were aired one after the other, highlighting the similarities between them. "When PM Netanyahu speaks about ‘election fraud’ he isn't referring to the vote counting process in Israel in which he has complete confidence,” the party claimed. “There is also no question about the peaceful transition of power.”
In the CNN segment, host Briana Keilar said that Netanyahu, “on the verge of losing power”, is “denying the legitimacy of his own defeat.” She then asked: “Sounds familiar, right?” before providing several examples to support the Trump-Netanyahu comparison.
Keilar quoted a Haaretz article on this issue, written by Alon Pinkas and published last week, titled “His Rule Slipping Away, Netanyahu Could Bring Capitol Insurrection to Israel.” She also mentioned a rare warning by the chief of the Shin Bet, Israel’s Internal Security Service, about the possibility of political violence as a result of incitement.
Despite its apparent acknowledgement of defeat, the Likud followed its tweet about the transfer of power with a series of attacks on the legitimacy of the Lapid-Bennett government, set to be sworn in on Sunday. The party reiterated its accusation that Bennett was committing fraud by forming a government with Netanyahu’s rivals, saying that “if this isn’t fraud, we don’t know what is.”