Coalition negotiating teams of Likud and Yamina will meet on Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Yamina leader Naftali Bennett agreed on Monday afternoon, when they met for the third time since President Reuven Rivlin granted Netanyahu the mandate to form a government last Tuesday.
Yamina leader Naftali Bennett denied reports on Monday that his demand for a rotation in the Prime Minister’s Office is preventing the formation of a government led by Netanyahu.
Speaking at a meeting of the Yamina faction in the Knesset, Bennett said anyone calling him an obstacle is distributing “fake news” and lies.
“I could have already now been sitting in the prime minister’s chair if that was my supreme goal, but my supreme goal is preventing the disaster of another election,” Bennett said.
Bennett cited Israel’s challenges in Iran, at the International Criminal Court in The Hague and economic challenges as reasons why Israel needs a stable government immediately.
“In our meeting, I told Netanyahu and I am saying it again here: The Likud can count on the Yamina faction when building a right-wing government,” Bennett said. “We will continue to work strenuously to prevent the disaster of a fifth election. There are creative ways and ideas to do it, which require rolling up sleeves and beginning to work.”
Bennett said the blocs in Israel are no longer Right and Left or for or against Netanyahu remaining in power.
“Now there are only the camps of those who are responsibly trying to form a government and those in the camp of anarchy who are torpedoing it,” Bennett said. “They should come down from the tree.”
Sources close to Bennett said he put in the second category Religious Zionist Party head Bezalel Smotrich, who continues to refuse to sit in a government backed by Ra’am (the United Arab List).
In faction meetings of Labor and Meretz, party leaders Michaeli and Nitzan Horowitz accused Netanyahu of purposely publicizing security operations for personal reasons. Michaeli said Democratic leaders in the US have told her that they no longer know if Netanyahu represents Israel, when he makes decisions on Iran, or his own personal situation.
“Netanyahu cannot be trusted on security issues, because he can make decisions on the basis of his political and legal problems,” Horowitz said. “The parties in the change bloc should negotiate, because every day he remains in office is dangerous for Israel.”