Labor's Gabbay insists on no-confidence motion, despite security tensions

By
July 24, 2017 15:56

"We have seen decisions made haphazardly without taking into account strategic considerations and the needs of our partners in the Middle East."

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Avi Gabbay, the leader of Israel's centre-left Labour party, delivers his victory speech after winni

Avi Gabbay, the leader of Israel's centre-left Labour party, delivers his victory speech after winning the Labour party primary runoff, at an event in Tel Aviv, Israel July 10, 2017.. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid decided to cancel his party's motion of no-confidence in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government Monday due to the security situation, but new Labor leader Avi Gabbay decided to go forward with his party's motion for the exact same reason.

Maintaining his turf war with Lapid over voters on the Center-Left, Gabbay attacked the Yesh Atid leader within his criticism of Netanyahu.

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"Netanyahu is not running the country professionally," Gabbay told his Zionist Union faction Monday. "He is not listening to the Shin Bet security service and other security officials, and therefore, more and more Israelis no longer trust him. When the tension around us is at its peak, we must tell the truth to the public and not pretend."

Gabbay complained that controversial metal detectors placed at the Temple Mount had made a national conflict into a religious one. He also referred to an alleged terrorist attack on an Israeli security guard in Amman, Jordan

"We have seen decisions made haphazardly without taking into account strategic considerations and the needs of our partners in the Middle East," Gabbay said. "Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Rabin made peace agreements that brought breakthroughs with Egypt and Jordan. No metal detector should be allowed to endanger these relationships, which impact our alliance with Sunni states against Iran."

Gabbay complained about Netanyahu entrusting key diplomatic and security issues to his private lawyers, David Shimron and Isaac Molho, who are partners in the same Jerusalem law firm.

"The mix of private lawyers handling key matters of state, the lack of a head of the National Security Council, and the foreign ministry being split in six pieces is harmful," Gabbay said. "This is not the way a country should be run and is not the way our security should be handled, and it does not matter how many years of experience you have."

Gabbay also called for the arrest of the head of the northern Islamic movement, Sheikh Raed Salah. He complained that Netanyahu was too busy trying to campaign against the head of Bayit Yehudi, Naftali Bennett.

Bennett responded in a meeting of his faction by criticizing Gabbay and defending Netanyahu.

"The government of Israel is acting with responsibility, unity and thoughtfulness in the face of a complicated diplomatic and security situation," Bennett said. "In contrast to the claims from the opposition benches, the decisions are made in an orderly, rational and responsible manner, and I fully back the prime minister, police and all security forces."

Kayla Steinberg contributed to this report.

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