Herzog pans new Netanyahu government as ‘national failure’
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Herzog pans new Netanyahu government as ‘national failure’

After prime minister announces formation of 61-seat government, opposition members rail against its ‘sectarian’ character

Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid (L) and Zionist Union party leader Isaac Herzog on December 24, 2014. (photo credit: Flash90)
Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid (L) and Zionist Union party leader Isaac Herzog on December 24, 2014. (photo credit: Flash90)

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog led a chorus of critics against the newly formed government on Wednesday, shortly after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the incoming 61-seat coalition, calling it a “national failure of a government.”

Herzog said in a statement that Netanyahu’s narrow government “lacks responsibility, stability and governance.”

“[It’s] a weak and narrow government, susceptible to blackmail, that will advance nothing and will quickly be replaced by a responsible and hopeful alternative,” the Zionist Union leader said.

After six weeks of wrangling with his prospective coalition partners, Netanyahu announced the formation of a 61-seat governing coalition on Wednesday, just hours before his mandate to form a government was set to expire.

Regarding Netanyahu’s last minute deal to give the Justice Ministry to the right-wing Jewish Home party — “who hurt and threatened the rule of law in the previous Knesset” — Herzog said it was “an obvious example of Netanyahu’s contempt for the wellbeing of the citizens of Israel.”

“It shows that even the rule of law and Israeli democracy are worth less than his political needs,” the opposition leader said.

Herzog’s ally Tzipi Livni, a former coalition partner of Netanyahu who ran on a joint list with Herzog in the elections, also panned the incoming coalition. She said the Netanyahu government was “not good for Israel in its method, in its world outlook, in its values, in its objectives — and therefore it’s good that it’s a government of 61 (seats) so that it will be easy to replace it with a government which will lead Israel in our method.”

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid called the new coalition “narrow, suspicious, and sectorial,” and took to Facebook to say that his party will be the alternative to it.

“We will be there everyday anew. In the Knesset plenary, in the committees, in the Supreme Court, in the streets and squares,” Lapid, the finance minister in the previous Netanyahu government, said.

Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett, Netanyahu’s ally, said shortly after the announcement of the deal between his party and Likud that the resultant government will be neither right-wing nor left-wing nor centrist. “This is a government of the entire people of Israel.”

“I had a very good conversation with the prime minister, during which I informed him that the Jewish Home supports a government led by him,” Bennett said. “The sides will continue to work tonight in order to reach agreements,” as a formal agreement has yet to be signed, he said.

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein said the process of forming the government wasn’t “strewn with roses, but tonight we are full of hope in bringing Israel forward in security, economics and in other fields.”

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