Bennett: We made a tough decision, but it was the best for the country

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett speaks at a press conference at the Knesset in Jerusalem on June 20, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/ FLASH90)
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett speaks at a press conference at the Knesset in Jerusalem on June 20, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/ FLASH90)

In comments made following the decision to dissolve the Knesset and call new elections, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett hails his government as a good government, as it saved Israel from an extended political crisis, improved the country’s security and political climate, prevented a new Iran nuclear deal, and “boosted national dignity.” He says that taking apart the government “isn’t an easy moment,” but is the right move for the country.

“A year ago, we formed a government that had seemed impossible, that stopped the severe leadership paralysis,” he says in a televised statement. “We formed a good government, and together we got Israel out of the slump. Israel went back to being governed.”

“Over the past weeks, we did whatever we could to save this government, not for us, but for the benefit of the country. I held many talks and understood that if the Knesset did not dissolve within 10 days, Israel’s security would be severely harmed,” he says, referring to the fact that temporary laws applying Israeli law to settlers would have expired at the end of the month, with the opposition and rebel coalition MKs refusing to back their extension.

“Unlike the opposition, which turned Israel’s security into a political pawn, I refused to harm Israel’s security for even one day,” he says.

He likens the situation to the biblical judgement of King Solomon, in which each of two women claimed to be a baby’s mother and the king suggested cutting the baby in two in order to award each woman half a baby, and then ruling that the woman who was unwilling to tolerate harm to the child was the true mother. “We chose to be the mother that saves the baby’s life,” Bennett says.

Bennett calls Foreign Minister Yair Lapid — who will become premier next week — a “mensch who represents a big public,” despite ideological disagreements. He pledges to “do everything so that the transition is successful and comprehensive.”

Addressing his critics, Bennett stresses that his motives for forming the government are not a hunger for power, but a genuine will to do good for the country.

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