Netanyahu compares Bennett-Lapid coalition to Syria, Iran politics

Netanyahu said Bennett was acting for his own personal interest, knowing that if there would be another election, his political career would be over.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at a Jerusalem Day ceremony, Ammunition Hill, Jerusalem, May 10, 2021 (photo credit: KOBI GIDEON/FLASH90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at a Jerusalem Day ceremony, Ammunition Hill, Jerusalem, May 10, 2021
(photo credit: KOBI GIDEON/FLASH90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu compared the expected Bennett-Lapid coalition to politics in Syria and Iran on Sunday after Yamina leader Naftali Bennett announced that he will form a government with Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid.

In his announcement, Bennett accused Netanyahu of leading Israel to national suicide. 

Netanyahu said that if Bennett would have allowed Lapid's mandate to form a government expire on Wednesday night, MKs from the so-called "Change Bloc" camp would have joined and enabled the formation of a right-wing government. He said Bennett was acting for his own personal interest, knowing that if there would be another election, his political career would be over.
 
Netanyahu said what Bennett was forming was not a unity government but a weak government that would harm Israel's deterrence. He compared it to what is happening in politics in Syria and Iran. 
“What will this do to Israeli deterrence? How will we look in the eyes of our enemies? What will they do in Iran or Gaza? What will they say in the corridors of the administration in Washington? This government will stand against Iran? This government supports the dangerous nuclear deal,” Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu blamed Bennett for spreading lies and misleading the public. "He said prior to the elections that he would not allow Lapid to become prime minister, even in a rotation model ... he said he would never make Lapid prime minister because he is right-wing, and it goes against his values."
Concluding his speech on Sunday evening, Netanyahu said:
"No one would have voted for you if they knew what you would do," calling Bennett's move "the deception of the century."

On Friday in a three-minute video released on social media, Netanyahu said Likud and Yamina negotiators had reached what he called a far-reaching agreement, but Bennett refused to sign it. He said the agreement would create a coalition of 59 MKs, two less than is needed. Bennett has declined to form a minority government and urged Netanyahu to find two defectors.  
 
Netanyahu accused Bennett of rejecting a right-wing government and instead seeking to become prime minister of a “government of the Left.”
 
“Naftali Bennett is running to the Left,” Netanyahu said at the time. “This goes against all their principles and promises and everything necessary to guarantee the future of our state.”

Tobias Siegal and Celia Jean contributed to this report.