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Netanyahu, Bennett tussle over prospect of coalition with Lapid

In this 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 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)

Netanyahu, trying to turn the heat up on one of his key rivals, calls on Yamina leader Naftali Bennett to pledge that he will not join a government with Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid after the election.

The centrist Lapid is perceived by many hawkish voters as being too far to the left of Netanyahu to be a viable partner in a coalition government, but Bennett has not ruled out a coalition with him, making the potential partnership a weak spot for Bennett that the prime minister has sought to exploit.

“I am making a commitment to establish a broad right-wing coalition without a [premiership] rotation and certainly without Yair Lapid,” Netanyahu says in a video shared by his Twitter account. “Now it’s your turn, Naftali Bennett: Commit to a government without Lapid in any role and without a rotation. Commit.”

Bennett responds by mocking Netanyahu’s own questionable record of keeping election promises as well as his many left-wing political bedfellows over the years.

“So I must say,” he tells a right-wing conference, “that hearing the word commitment from Netanyahu is a bit like making [former Health Ministry director and vocal coronavirus skeptic] Yoram Lass the face of the campaign against the coronavirus.”

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