'Bennett scrounging for votes by spouting slogans and populist taunts'

Sources close to Netanyahu slam Bennett for his criticism of the government.

January 20, 2016 10:14
1 minute read.
Netanyahu Bennett

Netanyahu and Bennett. (photo credit: ABIR SULTAN / POOL / AFP,REUTERS)


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Sources close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed Naftali Bennett as a "talkbacker" on Wednesday, a day after the education minister criticized the government for failed military and diplomatic strategies during his speech to the International Institute for Strategic Studies 9th Annual International Conference in Tel Aviv.

"It seems that there are those who still don't understand the difference between being a minister in the cabinet and a talkbacker in the opposition," the sources close to the prime minister said.

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"While the IDF, Police and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) are fighting terror everyday, in every place, members of the government are expected to be responsible and join the common effort, rather than scrounging for votes by spouting slogans and populist taunts against the government in which they sit," the sources added.

Bennett said in his speech on Tuesday, in comments that were perceived by many as an attack on Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, "We’re deadlocked mentally, not diplomatically.” The education minister attacked Bayit Yehudi’s coalition partners in the government for failing to adapt the “Start-up Nation’s” business approach to the diplomatic arena.

“I speak here as a minister in the government and a member of the cabinet who is still moved by the personal courage of the soldiers and their commanders,” Bennett said.

“I speak here as someone who entered politics from the world of hi-tech, where I saw that its agile and flexible thinking allowed us to reinvent ourselves,” he continued.

Bennett said that, at the cabinet table, he can see the gap between the physical capacity of the soldiers and the strategic concepts that they must follow, noting that Israeli soldiers can be the best in the world, but still fail at their mission if they do not follow the right strategy.

There is not much that F-35 fighter jets can do against 50 Hamas commandos who dig tunnels under the Gaza border, he said.

“We have to ask ourselves, how is it that we bleed after each confrontation with Hamas and Hezbollah, while the head of the octopus remains immune,” Bennett asked.

Yaakov Lappin and Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.

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