Naftali Bennett (L) and Benjamin Netanyahu (R).
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled the first security cabinet meeting called since Hamas escalated its attacks on Israel last week, a move that New Right leader Naftali Bennett said is politically motivated.
The meeting was set for Wednesday but was canceled on Sunday.
Earlier that day, Bennett, a cabinet member, had written a letter to Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit
calling on him to require Netanyahu to call a meeting.
In light of Hamas launching rockets at Tel Aviv suburbs over two weeks ago
; last week’s rocket attack, which destroyed a home in Moshav Mishmeret
near Kfar Saba; an onslaught of launches at towns in the south
; and over 40,000 rioters at the Gaza border over the weekend
, Bennett said that Netanyahu’s reluctance to call a cabinet meeting “doesn’t make sense.”
According to Bennett, the actions taken so far “have not created the necessary deterrence against Hamas’s actions, which are meant to hurt the security of Israeli citizens.”
He also expressed concern at reports that Israel is negotiating with Hamas.
“It is not reasonable, in my opinion, for the prime minister and security establishment to manage such important security events on their own, without the security cabinet ministers, who carry the responsibility [for Israel’s response] by law, giving their opinions,” Bennett wrote to Mandelblit.
The attorney-general rejected Bennett’s request.
After the meeting was canceled, Bennett said it was a political move, and that Netanyahu is “holding residents of the South hostage for a political campaign.
“Netanyahu is avoiding calling a cabinet meeting, because he knows that, just like with the operation to destroy Hamas tunnels in Protective Edge, I will oppose a shameful deal with Hamas and will lead a creative initiative to defeat Hamas,” said Bennett, who seeks to be appointed defense minister in the next government.
Spokespeople for the prime minister did not respond to requests for comment.
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon said he agrees with Bennett that a security cabinet meeting should be called, but that he doesn’t agree with Bennett’s style.
The escalation of recent weeks “is bigger than politics, and we do need to gather the cabinet,” Kahlon told i24 News. “This situation cannot continue.”
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