Sources in the Likud party tell the Ma’ariv newspaper there are concerns Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is extending the fighting in Gaza because Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid currently holds the mandate to form the next government.
“Netanyahu is drawing out the operation in Gaza because Lapid is holding the mandate,” a senior political adviser in the party says.
“He doesn’t seem to have a real desire to eradicate Hamas. Relations between the Arabs in Israel and Jews are being left in ruins,” the adviser says. “Netanyahu is galloping toward a fifth election and taking the country hostage. The collapse of right-wing chairman Naftali Bennett gives him a boost, but support for him within the Likud is weakening.”
Other elements in the right-wing bloc tell the newspaper that it is thought Netanyahu believes the conflict with Hamas will boost his image in fifth elections.
“He is building on the fact that Yamina will be wiped out,” unnamed party officials tell the newspaper.
Shortly after the violence broke out, Yamina’s Bennett abandoned Lapid and turned back to negotiations with Netanyahu’s Likud. The Walla news site reported this week that since then, the premier has toned back his original offer to the right-wing party head significantly.