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Calls Lapid a mensch, expects to hand over power as agreed

‘I’m not her boss’: Bennett defends wife over trip abroad at outset of Omicron wave

PM says he didn’t try to talk Gilat Bennett out of taking their kids overseas just days after he urged Israelis to refrain from foreign travel

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett with his wife Gilat in the Knesset in Jerusalem, on June 13, 2021. (Ariel Zandberg/Yamina)
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett with his wife Gilat in the Knesset in Jerusalem, on June 13, 2021. (Ariel Zandberg/Yamina)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett offered a fresh defense of his family for taking an overseas vacation in December just days after he implored Israelis not to travel abroad due to concerns over the Omicron variant of coronavirus.

In a clip from an interview broadcast Monday, Bennett cited “name-calling” on social media as the reason his wife Gilat wanted to take their children on vacation.

“The kids are exposed to everything. They browse on Instagram and TikTok and she just wanted to disconnect them from that,” he told Channel 12 news.

Bennett, who was heavily criticized at the time over the trip, said he did not try to talk his wife out of going.

“I’m not her boss. We’re a couple,” he said.

The premier also denied the incident caused any tension at home.

“What bothers me most is that this created a very, very distorted picture of Gilat,” he said.

Bennett previously defended his family over the trip, which came two months ago, after Israel sealed its borders to foreigners in a bid to limit the spread of Omicron into the country. He insisted they were transparent about their plans from the beginning and that his wife and children would quarantine upon return, as was required of all Israelis.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (L) attend a Knesset plenum session on January 31, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

In another brief segment from the interview, which is set to air in full on Tuesday, Bennett was asked if there are friendships in Israeli politics, and if he considers Foreign Minister Yair Lapid to be a friend.

“Yair Lapid is a mensch, simply a mensch,” he said.

Pressed whether he would hand over the premiership to Lapid in September 2023 as per their coalition deal, Bennett responded, “As long as it depends on me, yes.”

“I gave him my word, he’s honored his word and I’ll honor mine,” he said. “I don’t know how to control all the other players.”

Bennett and Lapid lead a narrow coalition of parties spanning the political spectrum, which was formed in June and ousted former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu after over 12 consecutive years in power.

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