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Bennett: Government faces ‘a machine of poison and lies’

PM says his decision to form unity government was ‘the most Zionist act I have done in my life,’ laments hate and ‘brainwashing’ on the right

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett chairs the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem on May 8, 2022. (Maya Alleruzzo/Pool/AFP)
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett chairs the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem on May 8, 2022. (Maya Alleruzzo/Pool/AFP)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Friday warned against what he said was a campaign by “a machine of poison and lies” against his coalition government.

Weighing in on the latest coalition crisis, Bennett wrote on Facebook that the idea behind the formation of the unity government was a “simple” one: “I’m a right-wing man and I’m not changing my beliefs. I will form a government with my friend Yair Lapid, with people from the center, right and left as well as with Mansour Abbas. All of us, including myself, will need to compromise.”

He said his government was now facing “a machine of poison and lies that paints us as traitors. The machine blames the government for every terror attack, as though Israel has not faced terror for the past 130 years, as though there was no wave of knife terrorism six years ago in which 50 citizens were murdered.”

He added that “the poison machine takes a toll. They managed to break the spirit of Idit Silman,” the Yamina MK who recently quit the government. “Members of my faction are under constant threat.”

When taking office last year, Bennett slammed ousted prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu for, he said, telling supporters to “lay into” the coalition members. In Friday’s post, he did not name Netanyahu.

On a personal note, he added, “My wife Gilat and my eldest son Yoni received threats with bullets from a brainwashed woman who believes my family should die for my decisions. That same poor woman believes my goal is to hand over the country to Hamas to maintain power, and that she must save the country from destruction.”

He called his decision to form a unity government, breaking with much of his right-wing base in order to prevent another election last year “the most Zionist act I have done in my life.”

“We must not give up. We have no other country,” he wrote.

“The future of the country is in jeopardy. We must fight and defeat Palestinian terrorism, and we must fight to maintain the unity of our people from within.”

The government has been pitched into fresh uncertainty following the announcement by Meretz MK Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi Thursday that she was quitting the coalition too, citing recent police conduct on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount and at the funeral of slain Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh as some of the reasons for her resignation.

Rinawie Zoabi’s departure leaves the government in a 59-seat minority in the 120-seat Knesset, though it is not yet clear that the opposition has the required votes to topple it at this stage.

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