Middle East/North Africa

Netanyahu fires back after opposition vote for new government: ‘My compass isn’t broken’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday fired back at his former political ally after he joined with Israeli opposition parties in announcing they had formed a coalition to remove Netanyahu from power and create a new government.

Israel-based newspaper Haaretz reported that Netanyahu accused right-wing Israeli politician Naftali Bennett of being “the fraud of the century” in a video message released shortly after Bennett announced the formation of the coalition on television.

Netanyahu said he had made “incredible” offers to Bennett’s Yamina party to avoid a “dangerous left-wing government.” In rejecting these offers, Bennett “only cares about himself,” Netanyahu claimed.

“I stand here tonight as a loyal representative of the public elected by 2 million voters who chose me to protect the people of Israel. They know my compass isn’t broken,” Netanyahu said in Hebrew, according to Haaretz reporter Anshel Pfeffer.

“Bennett said hollow phrases. He’s committed the fraud of the century. Naftali your promises are empty as feathers. If people knew the truth, no-one but yourself would have voted for you. The only thing he cares about is being prime minister,” Netanyahu continued.

“Bennett says we can’t have elections. He’s not saying it because it’s bad for Israel. But because he knows he’ll be wiped out in another election. He only cares about himself and about being PM for two years. Don’t form a left-wing government. It’s a danger to Israel,” Netanyahu added, according to Pfeffer.

In his televised remarks, Bennett said the four election cycles that Israel had gone through in the past two years have resulted in the country “losing its ability to function” and accused Israeli leadership of “showing hate and divisions to cover up failures,” Haaretz reported.

“We could go to fifth elections, sixth elections, until our home falls upon us, or we could stop the madness and take responsibility,” Bennett said in his televised statement. “Today, I would like to announce that I intend to join my friend Yair Lapid in forming a unity government.”

“It’s either a fifth election or a unity government,” Bennett added. “Netanyahu knows it well.”

Netanyahu had made a last-minute offer of forming a rotation government with right-wing Israeli politician Gideon Sa’ar, but Sa’ar rejected the offer and joined with the coalition in calling for Netanyahu’s 12-year term to come to an end.

Tags Benjamin Netanyahu Benjamin Netanyahu Israeli government Naftali Bennett Netanyahu Trial of Benjamin Netanyahu Yamina

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