‘Country in chaos’ says Bennett, refuses to rule out Netanyahu

“After 10 months [Transportation Minister Miri] Regev allowed all the mutations in and only then closed the airport while leaving thousands of Israelis stranded abroad.”

YAMINA leader Naftali Bennett at the Defense Ministry last year. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
YAMINA leader Naftali Bennett at the Defense Ministry last year.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Yamina leader MK Naftali Bennett has repeated his message that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must be replaced.
Speaking on Channel 13 News Saturday night, Bennett said that “We need to say thanks to Netanyahu but he cannot extract Israel from this chaos and he cannot lead the nation.”
He continued that “The country is being led in the worst way I’ve ever seen, its chaos.”
Bennett accused the government specifically of failing over its management of international travel in and out of the country.
“After 10 months [Transportation Minister Miri] Regev allowed all the mutations in and only then closed the airport, while leaving thousands of Israelis stranded abroad.”
Bennett insisted that a properly structured plan with testing before and after an individual gets on a flight could have ensured that the skies were kept open and the virus, including the different new variants, were kept out.
“Netanyahu is not the right person to lead the country. We need to replace him. Israel will survive with younger leadership,” said the Yamina leader.  
However, the Yamina leader continued with his ambiguous policy of calling for Netanyahu’s replacement but keeping open the option of joining a Netanyahu led government.
“I am being the responsible adult in the room,” he said, since he wasn’t with “just not Bibi” parties such as Yesh Atid and New Hope, and was not vowing to serve only with Netanyahu like his erstwhile ally and head of the Religious Zionist Party Betzalel Smotrich.
Asked if he could sit with the Labor Party, Bennett indicated he wouldn’t because of comments made by the party’s seventh-placed candidate on its electoral list Ibtisam Maraana, who said she drove around during the two minutes silence on Holocaust Remembrance Day.
And he attacked Yesh Atid chairman and opposition leader Yair Lapid, saying he would form a government “with the vote of [Balad Party MK] Hiba Yazbek,”
Speaking on Channel 12’s Meet the Press program, Smotrich said he was “not in the pocket of Netanyahu” but that if it was a choice between joining a Netanyahu government and a Lapid government “it is clear who I will pick.”
He also attacked Bennett for his failure to stand up for his right-wing principles and declare that he would only join a right-wing government, instead of keeping other options open.
“Does Bennett commit to serving in a right-wing govt? The choice is between Netanyahu or Lapid. My choice is clear,  you should ask Bennett what his position is,” said Smotrich.  
He also indicated that he favored the so-called French Law providing immunity from prosecution for a serving prime minister.
“Yes it bothers me that the prime minister is on trial and that instead of doing his job the prime minister is in court. A [civil service] official, however s senior he might be should not be able to topple a prime minister. It cannot be that the attorney- general can replace the elected representative of the people,” said Smotrich.
Separately, Kan News reported that should Blue and White fail to cross the electoral threshold in the election it is possible that Netanyahu could fire all Blue and White ministers from the cabinet.
According to the legislation passed to form the outgoing government, Netanyahu could not fire Blue and White ministers without the support of the alternative prime minister, which is Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz.
But the legislation does not address a situation in which Gantz is not re-elected to the Knesset, an eventuality that could transpire if Blue and White does not cross the electoral threshold and enter the next Knesset.