It’s time for right-wing members of the coalition government to come home, former prime minister and current Opposition Leader Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday night at a rally held in Jerusalem.
Warning that the current government is “weak and dangerous,” Netanyahu pointed out that those who promote and carry out terror against the State of Israel are “smelling weakness, and terror is raising its head.”
Demonstrators waving Israeli flags and posters that proclaimed “We Need a Leader!” roared in approval when the former prime minister took the stage.
Heavily guarded, Netanyahu addressed thousands of Israelis who streamed to Jerusalem to attend a right-wing rally to express support for MK Idit Silman, a member of the coalition’s Yamina party who resigned her post earlier in the day and defected to Netanyahu’s Likud.
Silman quit over the issue of prohibiting hametz, which is forbidden on Passover, in the nation’s hospitals. In a break from a decades-long policy to keep the hospitals free of hametz during the week-long holiday, Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz this month insisted that it was wrong to force people to observe the prohibition, and struck it down.
“We are all brothers and sisters,” Netanyahu said, ticking off the list of the country’s various demographic groups. “We are all partners on the same path.”
Speaking at first behind bulletproof glass, and then moving instead to a podium without such protection, Netanyahu warned, “[But] in our neighborhood, one cannot be weak. . . Israel needs a strong government to face Iran” and all the other challenges confronting the Jewish State.
“Who will do all this?” he demanded. “We are the only ones who will do it!
“The time has arrived to return home,” he said. The time has arrived to put aside all things of the past, and to return to the national camp. We are there to serve all citizens of Israel, with no exceptions. Our door is open to all who vote with the right.
“We came here tonight to tell this weak and dangerous government one thing only: Go home!”
Netanyahu called on “all those who are still sitting in this coalition government and feeling their conscience pricking them: come home.
“Good job, to Idit Silman who did the right thing today!” Netanyahu shouted.
“We welcome her with a big hug, and with great joy. Idit has returned home, and this government needs to GO home!” he said.
“Everyone knows one thing for certain: the days of this government are approaching their final moment.”
Also addressing the rally were Religious Zionism party leader MK Bezalel Smotrich, former Shas MK Aryeh Deri and the head of the Council of Judea and Samaria.
In response, Blue and White party leader and Defense Minister Benny Gantz issued a statement via Twitter saying he had spoken with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett earlier in the day following Silman’s resignation.
שוחחתי עם ראש הממשלה היום ואנחנו נפעל כדי לנסות ולשמר את הממשלה. כחול לבן הייתה ותמשיך להיות הסיעה הממושמעת והמרכזית ביותר בקואליציה. אנחנו רוצים בקיומה של הממשלה ובהצלחתה, ובמובן הזה לא השתנה דבר מאתמול.
— בני גנץ – Benny Gantz (@gantzbe) April 6, 2022
“We will work to try and preserve the government,” Gantz wrote. “Blue and White has been, and will continue to be, the most disciplined and central faction in the coalition. We want the existence of the government and its success, and in that sense nothing has changed since yesterday.”