Lapid: Government has lost control — terror is rising, army is confused

Carrie Keller-Lynn is a political and legal correspondent for The Times of Israel

Head of the Yesh Atid party MK Yair Lapid speaks during a faction meeting at the Knesset on February 27, 2023. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)
Head of the Yesh Atid party MK Yair Lapid speaks during a faction meeting at the Knesset on February 27, 2023. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

Opposition leader Yair Lapid says the government has “lost control” over Israel’s security and its own internal functioning, following Jewish settler riots in response to West Bank terror yesterday.

“Two months after the establishment of a ‘full-on right-wing’ government,” Lapid says, borrowing the far-right’s language, “the scope of [terror] attacks is increasing, terrorists are raising their heads, and the army is confused and does not understand its chain of command.”

The Yesh Atid party leader’s comments come a day after a deadly terror attack in the Palestinian village of Huwara killed two Jewish brothers and raised the number of terror victims to 13 since the start of 2023. In response, Jewish settlers went on an unprecedented rampage in Huwara, setting fires to homes and cars and killing one Palestinian.

Lapid blames both the settler violence and the precarious security situation on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, labeling it “weak.”

“What happened last night is complete anarchy,” Lapid says.

“This anarchy is created because in this government, everyone has their own policy,” he continues, noting deep disagreements between Netanyahu’s Likud and his far-right partners on how to handle West Bank policy, leading ministers to denounce the government’s own attempts at diplomacy.

Far-right police minister Itamar Ben Gvir “has one policy, [Bezalel] Smotrich, the political arm of the [radical settler] hilltop youth, has a second policy” as an independent minister in the Defense Ministry, while Defense Minister Yoav “Gallant has a third policy and Netanyahu is weak and unable to put them in their place.”

“Netanyahu and Likud formed a government with people walking in [far-right] marches, singing ‘burn their villages,'” he said, referencing a popular far-right refrain about Arabs. “So now these people have burned a village.”

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