(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Zionist Union leader and head of the opposition MK Isaac Herzog criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with just over a week before President Donald Trump is due to arrive in Israel for an official state visit.
Speaking at a cultural event in Rishon LeZion Saturday, Herzog said that following the president's visit, we will know "if we have a prime minister who understands the need for a political step or a prime minister that plans to continue to shy away from the biggest Zionist challenge of the 21st century -- the future identity of the State of Israel... and separation from the Palestinians."
Herzog added that Netanyahu would receive support for political advancement on the issues, but that "questions need to be aimed at [Likud MK] David Bitan, [Tourism Minister] Yariv Levin, and [Culture and Sport Minister] Miri Regev," adding that he needs to decide whether he works for the "Israeli people" or his political allies.
Herzog's criticism towards the Likud parliamentarians stems from their nationalist positions, which reject the establishment of a Palestinian state and calls for greater Israeli control of the West Bank.
Herzog also mentioned that Trump coming to the Middle East is a sign that the US president is determined to settle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Meanwhile, Yesh Atid MK Yaakov Peri stated at another public event that Netanyahu is not taking steps to reach a solution but rather is "managing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."
"Netanyahu is happy to remain in the current situation," he said.
Peri added that Israel must take the initiative and find common ground with Saudi Arabia and other regional Arab countries in order to find a peaceful solution with the Palestinians.
Bitan, who heads the government coalition in the Knesset, said in response while at an event in Kiryat Ono that "the fact that Trump requests to speak at Masada testifies that he respects the history and symbols of our people more than quite a lot of left wing people in the country."