Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid still holds the president’s mandate to form a government, but his most important partner in establishing his government, Yamina chairman Naftali Bennett, will not join him. According to reports, their coalition was ready for the phase in which they inform President Reuven Rivlin that they had succeeded in forming a majority coalition government, but following the escalation in violence between Israeli Jews and Arabs, they do not appear to have succeeded.
Channel 12 journalist Amit Segal explained Bennett’s decision: “What a glorious folding for Bennett. As much as he had sought a government, in the end, he collapsed, realizing that Ayelet Shaked would run away from him.”
Segal added: “Bennett can tell stories from now until tomorrow about the understanding that suddenly permeated him on Thursday at seven in the evening regarding the need for a right-wing government. In reality, Ayelet Shaked gave Bennett an ultimatum: either you stop or we split up.”
According to Segal: “All the pressure now is focused on Gideon Sa’ar. Bennett collapsed under pressure—he really wanted this government, do not be mistaken, but when he realized that his party was falling apart, he panicked and ran away.”
Lapid responded to Bennett’s decision in a statement to the media: “I heard tonight Naftali Bennett’s announcement that he does not see feasibility for the change government under the current circumstances. I understand his distress, but he is wrong. Change is not made when it’s convenient. Whoever waits for the right moment will find that it will never come. Change is made when you believe it’s the right thing to do. When you believe your way is right.”
Lapid added: “I have no intention of giving up. I will continue to turn every stone to form a government in the coming weeks. There are another 20 days to the expiration of my mandate, in political terms, it’s an eternity. We will continue to fight and if we do not succeed, we will go to the most unnecessary and dangerous elections in the history of the country and we will win. We will win in the name of those who refuse to accept violence and hatred. In the name of all the good Israelis who refuse to accept a government that tears us apart from within as a method of working.”
A regular MLK.
Yamina MK Amichai Shikli, who previously rejected the change government and announced that he would not join it, responded to Bennett’s decision: “I congratulate the chairman of our faction, Naftali Bennett, on his courageous decision, and I very much hope to see a national government soon that gives a decisive answer to the rampant Arab violence.”
Speaking of Arab violence, Ra’am chairman Mansour Abbas said that an hour before his announcement to the media, Bennett spoke with him and informed him of his decision.
MK Bezalel Smotrich said in response to Bennett’s decision: “Dropping from the agenda the creation of a left-wing government with the help of terrorist supporters is an important step forward. What is needed is the establishment of a full-fledged right-wing government of all national camp parties.”
Likud MK Miki Zohar announced: “I congratulate Naftali Bennett on removing the option of a dangerous left-wing government from the table. He showed responsibility and leadership. It is time for the entire right-wing camp to unite and form a national government that will protect Israeli citizens and IDF soldiers. I call on you, Gideon Sa’ar – let’s form a right-wing government. today.”
For his part, Bennett noted on his Facebook page that “the Likud has been transformed from a ruling party into a party that fails to run the country and leads it negligently from failure to disaster. Yamina will give its total support to every step to restore the security of the Netanyahu-Ganz government, detached from any political calculation. Now is the time to unite and win.”
With that, Bennett has joined the recognition that if Gideon Sa’ar continues to oppose joining the Netanyahu government, it may be possible to call on Blue&White chairman Benny Gantz to join, which would give the Netanyahu government a majority of 67 MKs.
Thank you, Hamas?