Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett criticized Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid on Monday for his increasingly fierce criticism of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s lack of success in preventing the international community from reaching a deal with Iran.Bennett and Lapid were political allies and self-proclaimed “brothers” in the previous government. But now that Lapid is in the opposition, he has increasingly irked Bennett, especially with his recent call for a state commission of inquiry to probe Netanyahu’s handing of Iran.
“We need unity in trying times like these,” Bennett told his faction in the Knesset.“There are those calling for a commission of inquiry to investigate the government’s handling of the Iran issue. Every private knows that probes are conducted only when a battle is over. I expect our politicians to show responsibility, especially at a time like this.”After the faction meeting, Bennett intensified his attack on Lapid, telling The Jerusalem Post: “I don’t remember such unity in Israel on an issue.But then small-minded politicians get in the way of the government’s efforts in order to score a few points. We are in a battle for the state’s existence and people who criticize Israel should know their words are translated. Their behavior is unbelievably problematic.”Shas leader Arye Deri also attacked Lapid.“The opposition needs to show more responsibility.There is a bad deal, and it must be dealt with,” he said.“This is the time to put interests aside,” Deri added. “It’s the job of the opposition to attack, but this is not the time.”Lapid continued his attack on Netanyahu, saying on Monday that Israel required different foreign policies and a completely different approach to Iran.“The UN will approve the Iran deal today because Israel had no influence,” Lapid said. “This is the nadir in Israeli diplomacy since the founding of the state, and Netanyahu refuses to take any responsibility. Has he really not made any mistakes at all?” Lapid pointed out five errors, which his advisers said had been whittled down from among many.“We have no functioning Foreign Ministry because Netanyahu took it apart and divided it among six ministers to the point that no one knows who is in charge or what its policies are,” Lapid said.“Our ambassador in Washington [Ron Dermer] is being shunned by Democrats because he works for the Republicans.Meanwhile, we have a great ambassador at the UN [Ron Prosor] who doesn’t know how long he will be in office,because two Likud hacks are fighting over the job.”Lapid was referring to ministers Danny Danon and Ophir Akunis, who are both interested in becoming ambassador to the UN, a post that Netanyahu used as a launching pad for his own political career.The Yesh Atid leader also said Netanyahu was making a mistake by refusing to hear about compensation for the Iran deal from visiting American Defense Secretary Ashton Carter. He pointed out that the Israeli defense establishment wanted compensation.“But the worst mistake,” Lapid went on, “is allowing the world, especially the Arabs to see that the US has stopped listening to Israel.”Introducing a no-confidence motion about Iran in the Knesset, Zionist Union MK Amir Peretz said “no DNA testing is necessary - the father of the failure is Netanyahu.”Jenna Perlman contributed to this report.
Knesset backlash over Iran deal