Education Minister Naftali Bennett delivers a statement to members of the media at the Knesset, Jerusalem, 2018..
(photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)
Education Minister Naftali Bennett broke weeks of silence following the announcement of his New Right Party, saying that Israelis must choose in the upcoming elections between Israel Resilience Party leader Benny Gantz and himself for the country’s next defense minister, in an interview with Ynet News Wednesday.
Bennett did not shy away from criticizing Gantz, the former IDF chief of staff, after the latter’s recent entry into politics.
“I do not have anything against Benny Gantz personally,” he said. “I am talking about his views.”
Gantz believes that “we do not need to win, but instead to finish every battle peacefully, but without winning. This belief has failed over the past 30 years,” Bennett said.
“In Operation Protective Edge
, I came and said, ‘There are 30 terrorist tunnels, they are ready to cause multidimensional destruction,’” Bennett said. “Benny Gantz said that it’s better not to enter [Gaza]. This is avoidance and procrastination.”
“One of the questions of these elections is who will be the defense minister in the next government — Naftali Bennett or Benny Gantz,” he said.
Bennett added that in the elections, “the public will have to choose between the New Right and the weak Left.”
The education minister explained that his party’s goal is to gain 15 mandates, and that the party is seeking the justice and defense portfolios in the next government.
Bennett lightly touched on the corruption cases against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying, “We will not join the populist choir. We will make a decision after the attorney-general’s decision following a hearing.”
“I hope that we do not get to the point of an indictment being filed,” said Bennett. “I have known the attorney-general for many years. He is a reliable and honest man and I trust him to handle all of the pressure from the Left and from the Right.” He continued speaking about Netanyahu, explaining that it is clear he will be prime minister in the next government as well.
“The question is what the character of the government will be: with Gantz, Lapid and Livni or a real right-wing government,” he said.
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