Lapid calls on Netanyahu to resign over COVID-19 failings

Likud minister, coalition chair trade threats and insults in ugly spat during Knesset committee hearing

MK Yair Lapid, Leader of the Opposition and Chair of Yesh Atid-Telem in conversation with Yaakov Katz (photo credit: JERUSALEM POST)
MK Yair Lapid, Leader of the Opposition and Chair of Yesh Atid-Telem in conversation with Yaakov Katz
(photo credit: JERUSALEM POST)
Head of the Opposition and Yesh Atid leader MK Yair Lapid called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resign on Monday, owing to what he described as the government’s failure to successfully combat the COVID-19 crisis.
Lapid said that Netanyahu’s resignation would not necessitate elections and that Yesh Atid would be willing to join a national unity government to tackle the public health crisis if the prime minister were to leave office.
“Benjamin Netanyahu needs to resign. He’s failed. He’s lost control. The corona crisis isn’t being managed, not the economic part and not the health part. He isn’t a manager, he’s a PR man. The failure is wall to wall, and it’s all his,” said Lapid during the Yesh Atid faction meeting on Monday afternoon.
He said that by January, Israel would be facing a winter spike in coronavirus cases while Netanyahu would at the same time be required to appear on a regular basis in court for his criminal trial on corruption charges.
“If Netanyahu resigns then in 48 hours we will create a real emergency government,” continued Lapid.
“Israel’s citizens are out of time. We’re in a state of emergency. I call upon all the factions in the Knesset to show him the door. The country is more important than any of us. Netanyahu needs to resign. Today.”
Yisrael Beytenu leader MK Avigdor Liberman also took the opportunity during his party’s faction meeting to attack Netanyahu, likewise accusing him of mismanaging the coronavirus crisis and calling on him to transfer all authority over the situation to the defense minister.
“The current crisis is a management crisis, not a coronavirus crisis and not an economic crisis. This is a system failure, it is the inability to decide and it is a total loss of control,” declared Liberman.
The Yisrael Beytenu leader went on to list a series of the government’s delays and reversals in its management of the crisis, including the ongoing failure to appoint a coronavirus czar, the lack of clarity regarding the coming school year and failures to adequately address economic concerns.
“I therefore call on Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz to demand that the prime minister pass all authorities and the entire battle against the coronavirus to the IDF and the defense ministry,” Liberman concluded.
Underlining the government’s dysfunction on Monday, was an extraordinary spat during deliberations in the Knesset Finance Committee on Monday, when Finance Minister Israel Katz of the Likud and coalition chairman MK Miki Zohar, also of Likud, exchanged a series of insults and threats while deliberating on compensation to business owners for economic damage due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu subsequently summoned both men to his office for a dressing-down over the embarrassing internal dispute which took place in full view of the public.
During the committee hearing, Zohar insisted that the highest level of compensation for events hall owners should be increased from what was set out by the government.
Katz, however, alleged that Zohar was taking his position due to the fact that a cousin of his owns an events hall.
Zohar did not take these allegations lying down, and engaged in a full frontal attack on Katz, saying that the finance minister was “disconnected from the people,” and that he was greatly disappointed by Katz’s functioning in office.
“It could very well be that the prime minister should be called upon to examine the ongoing tenure of the finance minister,” warned Zohar in a none-to-subtle threat.
“His continued tenure has become a threat to the continued rule of the Likud,” he continued.
Retorted Katz: “I have some advice for you. Simply stop talking and leave.”

Tags Yair Lapid