Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin said in a closed conversation with Haredi MKs on Tuesday morning that his faction, the Likud, would probably recommend Yamina chairman Naftali Bennett to the president to receive the mandate to forge a coalition government, Kan 11 News reported.
On the other hand, sources in Yamina claimed Tuesday morning that while Netanyahu publicly endorses Bennett as the first PM in the rotation, in practice, Netanyahu is seeking and is interested in a fifth election and not in forming a government.
Yamina officials are saying that this is the impression they got from their talks with Netanyahu’s people, and in response, the Yamina folks made clear that they would allow a fifth election and would form a government with Lapid, if necessary, to prevent it.
Meanwhile, senior members of United Torah Judaism on Tuesday morning sharply attacked Yemina leaders Bennett and Shaked, saying they were leading Israel into the abyss.
“The transfer of the finance portfolio to [Israel Beiteinu chairman Avigdor] Liberman is a hate crime and a moral injustice, to which he has no forgiveness,” they warned, saying “Bennett should observe how much Lapid—his intended alternative PM in a left-leaning coalition government—has been trying to remove from himself the disgrace of the past, and understand that some boundaries are not to be cross. The step taken by Bennett and Shaked is tantamount to placing an idol in the Holy Temple which means the destruction of tradition and a fatal injury to the faith. This is a true alarm for the right and for the religious public, Mr. Bennett is carrying out Disengagement 2 in Israel,” the senior officials said.
What they mean is that unlike Lapid, who as Finance Minister curtailed government programs for large Haredi families and now engages in cajoling the Haredim into joining his government, Liberman, who demands the Finance portfolio, would slash the Haredi stipends much worse – should his next prime minister, Naftali Bennett, let him.
Also on Tuesday, in a letter they sent on Tuesday to Bennett and New Hope party Gideon Sa’ar, who are both mulling a government with the left, supported by the Arab parties, the relatives of victims of terrorism stated that they would fight a government that would receive outside support from Ra’am or the Joint Arab List.
“We thought of you as partners but for political whims, you ridicule the memory of our loved ones,” the letter said.
“Naftali, Gideon, and Ayelet, we appeal to you,” the families wrote, adding: “Do not hurt us and our loved ones a second time! Do not cooperate with the enemy that led to the murder of our loved one! Do not form a government with the support or even abstention of the supporters of terrorism, the Arab Knesset members.”
So far, about 20 bereaved families whose loved ones were killed in terrorist attacks have signed the letter.
Several sources in the parties opposed to Netanyahu claim that in recent days attempts have been made by Blue&White chairman Benny Gantz to check with several left-wing parties the possibility of endorsing him for the president’s mandate to form a government. According to the same sources, but the leftist parties’ leadership made it clear that they would not support Gantz and the idea fell through. The Gantz people claimed in response that there was no attempt on the part of Gantz or his circle to try for the mandate.
Minister Michael Bitton of Blue&White said Tuesday morning that it was the parties who approached Gantz and asked him what would happen if they recommended him to the president. In an interview with Reshet Bet radio, Bitton said that the Blue&White chairman completely ruled out this possibility.