Bennett tells Likud hecklers: Your screams are as loud as your failure

"The loud tone of the screams is the same as the failure to govern during your term in office," Bennett snapped back at the Likud members.

Incoming Prime Minister Naftali Bennett addresses the Knesset plenum ahead of swearing in of new government. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Incoming Prime Minister Naftali Bennett addresses the Knesset plenum ahead of swearing in of new government.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Incoming prime minister Naftali Bennett was defiant on the Knesset podium on Sunday as he presented his new government's ministers and its guidelines in an address constantly interrupted by MKs, who will not be in opposition, heckled him persistently. 
From the moment Bennett began his speech introducing his government, Religious Zionist Party head Bezalel Smotrich and other MKs shouted "shame" and waved posters of terror victims. They were promptly ejected from the plenum.
"I am proud that I can sit in a government with people with very different views," Bennett said to the angry hecklers, telling them that  they clearly found it difficult relinquishing the reins of power. 

Smotrich and his fellow-Religious Zionist Party members, Itamar Ben-Gvir and Orit Struck all had to be escorted from the plenum following their comments, though several Likud and other right-wing MKs continued shouting out loud comments and interrupting Bennett's speech.
As Bennett struggled to speak, his calls for patience and unity among the Israeli public were drowned out by the screams of his rival MKs and his own children, who were sitting in the public gallery, began making heart signs with their hands in support of their father.

Benett's wife Gilat also showed he support from the gallery, posting a selfie with the wife of incoming foreign minister and alternate prime minister Yair Lapid, Lihi, with the caption "Unity."

Bennett called on all sides of the political spectrum to show restraint. He complained that in recent years, Israel was not being run in the way a country should be run. 
"The loud tone of the screams is the same as the failure to govern during your term in office," Bennett snapped at the Likud hecklers.

RELIGIOUS ZIONIST Party head Bezalel Smotrich protesting new government at Knesset meeting. Photograph Name: MARC ISRAEL SELLEMRELIGIOUS ZIONIST Party head Bezalel Smotrich protesting new government at Knesset meeting. Photograph Name: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM
Shas and United Torah Judaism MKs also heckled Bennett, calling him a liar and a cheat but Bennett promised to help the haredi (ultra-Orthodox) sector, even though its MKs would not be part of his government. He pledged to build a new haredi city for the sector's growing population. 
 
After ten more minutes of chaos, Likud MK May Golan, Shas MK Moshe Abutbul and United Torah Judaism MK Yitzhak Pindrus were also removed from the plenum for their protestations.
Labor MK Ram Shefa tweeted a video of the chaos, calling it an "embarrassment by the Religious Zionist Party" and adding "you will not stop us, change is on the way."
In the address, Bennett said his government would prevent the nuclearization of Iran and would not permit rocket fire on Israeli citizens from the Gaza Strip. He thanked the administration of US President Joe Biden for its support during the war in Gaza and pledged to work to maintain bipartisan support for Israel in the US.
Bennett made a point of starting his address by praising outgoing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his hard work over the years for the State of Israel, and his wife, Sara, for her dedication. He said Netanyahu deserved credit for his outreach to Ra'am (United Arab List) head Mansour Abbas. The new government would take unprecedented steps to reach out to the Arab sector, Bennett vowed.
Lapid also spoke and said, his mother, author Shulamit Lapid had made a special effort to come to the Knesset for the occasion:
"My mother is 86 years old and we did not easily ask her to make her way to Jerusalem. We did it because I assumed that you [opposition MKs] would be able to get a grip and act respectfully at this moment, and that she can witness a peaceful transition of power," Lapid said.
"When she was born, Israel did not yet exist, Tel Aviv was a town of 30,000 people and we did not have a parliament and I wanted her to be proud of Israel's democratic process. Instead, she and every other Israeli citizen is ashamed of you and has again remembered why it's time to replace you."
"I’m skipping the speech I planned to deliver today because I’m here to say one thing - to ask for forgiveness from my mother," Lapid said.
  
A crisis was avoided earlier, when Ra'am MK Saeed Alharomi said he would vote in support of the new government after he threatened not to vote in support of it. 

Religious Zionist MK Itamar Ben-Gvir kicked out of Knesset meeting for protesting the new government. Photograph Credit: Knesset ChannelReligious Zionist MK Itamar Ben-Gvir kicked out of Knesset meeting for protesting the new government. Photograph Credit: Knesset Channel
 
Ra'am head Mansour Abbas told Knesset reporters that "nothing" would stop the swearing-in of the new government on Sunday night, saying that "we will all vote in favor of the government."
In return for his support of the new coalition, Alharomi demanded that a clause in the coalition agreement regarding illegal construction in the Negev be cancelled.
Netanyahu and Deri pressured Alharomi and offered him assurances, including on the Kaminitz Law that addresses illegal construction, in a last-ditch attempt to get him to vote against the government. 
Netanyahu would have remained in power if the prospective new coalition's wafer-thin majority were to lose the support of even one MK in a vote of confidence. If Alharomi abstains in the confidence vote, Joint List MKs could come to its rescue and vote in favor.
The Likud responded that it would be shameful if the government were formed through the backing of MKs who support terrorists and do not recognize Israel as a Jewish-democratic state.
Eve Young contributed to this report