Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Monday gestured to suggest his rival Benjamin Netanyahu has a screw loose as the opposition leader assailed the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
During a special Knesset session on the coronavirus and the cost of living in Israel, Netanyahu slammed the premier for not taking further measures to counter the spread of the Omicron variant, which has pushed serious cases to record levels and fueled a mounting death toll.
Bennett was required to appear after opposition lawmakers gathered enough signatures to force his attendance.
“You, Bennett, haven’t done anything. You call this inaction and impotence a policy? It’s not only on the coronavirus,” Netanyahu told the plenum.
— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) February 7, 2022
As Netanyahu spoke, Bennett put his hand to his face mask and then made a dismissive gesture, before raising a finger to his head in a circular motion to make a “crazy” sign.
Right-wing opposition figures criticized Bennett for making the gesture.
“What are kids supposed to think when they see Bennett gesturing ‘crazy’ at Netanyahu?” Religious Zionism MK Michal Waldiger exclaimed. “That it’s legitimate? That you can gesture that someone is crazy like that in front of everyone?”
On Twitter, Netanyahu’s son Yair wrote: “Hahahaha, are you sure you want to get into this, Bennett?”
Likud MKs Shlomi Karhi and Galit Distal Atbaryan released a video in which they gave a thumbs-up as a picture of Netanyahu flashed on the screen, before then making a “crazy” sign as a photo of Bennett appeared.
In his own remarks to the Knesset, Bennett charged that opposition members were “hurt” that he has not imposed sweeping restrictions on economic activity to combat the virus, before rattling off a number of other policies his government has advanced.