Likud bashes Bennett over pressure on PM

Transportation Minister Israel Katz harshly rebuked Beit Yehudi leader Nafatli Bennett for pressuring Netanyahu prior to the premier's meeting with US President Donald Trump.

Israel Katz (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Israel Katz
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Transportation Minister Israel Katz scolded Beit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett on Sunday for pressuring Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of his meeting on Wednesday with US President Donald Trump.
Bennett posted a demand on Facebook on Saturday night that Netanyahu tell trump he no longer supports the creation of a Palestinian state. He also called for action against Hamas' Gaza.
"Security cabinet members should not be provocative in order to achieve a political gain," Katz (Likud) told Army Radio. "The phenomenon of a security cabinet minister who heads a small party, heating up the border with Gaza because of political considerations and dragging at war is very grave."
"Bennett is trying to get more supporters at the expקnse of of our national interest and it must stop," Katz added.
He also went on to say that Israel "is clearly an independent state" but that "it must coordinate understandings with its friends in the US."
The Bayit Yehudi Party responded to Katz's accusations by saying that it was Katz, not Bennett, who was engaging in petty politics.
"Katz has been running a campaign to replace Netanyahu, including forming a team of advisers who are helping him plan details to help him replace him [the prime minister]. And now as part of that he is attacking other ministers," a Bayit Yehudi spokeswoman said.
"He should return to dealing with the traffic jam on the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway and traffic accidents instead of trying to drag Bayit Yehudi into his personal battles with Netanyahu," she added.
Another comment advising Netanyahu on how to proceed before his meeting with the US president came from Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog, who called upon Netanyahu to continue to back a two-state solution in his meeting with Trump. Herzog warned that having one state for Israel and the Palestinians would result in Israel losing its identity as the nation state of the Jewish people.
"Netanyahu needs to decide if he is flying to the US as the prime minister of Israel or the foreign minister of Naftali Bennett," Herzog said.
Zionist Union MK Erel Margalit asked Attorney-general Avichai Mandelblit to prevent Netanyahu from travelling to the US due to the ongoing criminal investigations into alleged wrongdoing by him and his lawyer, David Shimron.
"Netanyahu must suspend himself from the trip to the US and allow President Reuven Rivlin to represent Israel instead of him," Margalit said. "There is serious concern that he could obstruct th investigation because people from abroad are involved."