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Likud lashes Bennett for refusing to fall in line with Netanyahu

In this Sunday, November 24, 2019 photo, Defense Minister Naftali Bennett and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visit an Israeli army base in the Golan Heights, on the Israeli-Syrian border. (Atef Safadi/Pool via AP, File)
In this Sunday, November 24, 2019 photo, Defense Minister Naftali Bennett and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visit an Israeli army base in the Golan Heights, on the Israeli-Syrian border. (Atef Safadi/Pool via AP, File)

The Likud party has issued a statement laying into Yamina chairman Naftali Bennett for not cooperating with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s efforts to form a government.

“Due to an uncontrollable ambition to be prime minister at any cost, Bennett – with just 7 seats – is ready to crown a left-wing government,” Likud says in a statement.

While Bennett has been in coalition talks with Netanyahu, he has kept up contact with Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid and the two could have enough to support to form an alternative government of their own with parties across the political spectrum.

Bennett has expressed willingness to back Netanyahu, but that would not be enough to form a government. The right-wing bloc would also need Gideon Sa’ar’s New Hope party or the Islamist Ra’am party to fall in line. Sa’ar has stated that he will not serve under Netanyahu under any circumstance while Ra’am and Religious Zionism have refused to cooperate in the same coalition. As a result, Netanyahu is left with virtually no shot at forming a government.

In its latest statement, Likud claims that Bennett is cooperating with Lapid and working against Netanyahu “against the will of the voter who gave 65 seats to the right-wing government.”

While it’s true that right-wing parties won 65 seats in last month’s election, two parties in that bloc — Yamina and New Hope — campaigned on replacing Netanyahu.

Likud points out that in his cooperation with Lapid, Bennett is setting himself up to violate a last-minute campaign promise in which he refused to serve in a Yesh Atid-led government. Evidently though, the Yamina chairman sees little alternative to preventing a fifth consecutive election and is enticed by Lapid’s offer to be prime minister in a rotational agreement in which Bennett will go first.

Likud calls Bennett’s actions “undemocratic and immoral.”

“Bennett’s paralyzed left-wing government will collapse within a few months, leading to the dissolving of the Knesset and a fifth general election. It will not be able to withstand even one day of international pressure against the settlements and IDF soldiers along with the race toward dangerous agreements with Iran. It will not even be able to promote a single right-wing reform,” Likud claims.

Netanyahu’s party urges Yamina to back a right-wing proposal to hold snap direct elections for the premiership.

Likud believes Netanyahu will win such a race, which would give him an additional three months to form a government though he would remain with the same breakdown in the Knesset that has prevented him from forming a government until now.

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