Photo Credit: Yoav Dudkevitch / POOL
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett (c) leads his final cabinet meeting, June 26, 2022.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett spoke at the start of the final weekly Cabinet meeting under his rule on Sunday morning, and boasted that “for the first time in years, the harvest in the communities adjacent to the Gaza Strip has ended quietly and successfully, without incendiary balloons, fires or Hamas rockets.”

Scoring an election point off his arch-rival, former-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the departing PM said, “I would remind everyone that two days into our government’s term, Hamas lit 26 arson fires and this was a daily routine for western Negev farmers. For years, the State of Israel paid compensations to farmers in advance so that they would harvest early, when their produce was not ripe and, therefore, of lesser quality. Instead of preventing Hamas fires, Israeli governments dealt in trying to compensate for the fires as if they were an act of God; this one did not. Together, we succeeded, for the first time in 15 years, to provide complete security to the residents of Ashkelon, Sderot, and the communities adjacent to the Gaza Strip. We cannot go backward.”

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Whatever the real reason, Bennett was right in his statement that while under his predecessor (and possibly his successor as well), Hamas was unruly and violent, under his government they were for the most part quiet. He has earned this one, especially since both he and Bibi were using the same defense minister, Benny Gantz.

Returning to the most burning issue, Bennett said, “Soon, unfortunately, the State of Israel will head toward elections, during which certain government actions will not be possible. Therefore, I ask that all ministers, in the days and hours that are left, clear their desks to expedite carrying out whatever can be done before the dissolution of the Knesset. Our responsibility to the citizens of Israel continues even in an election period.”

He listed the projects that must be implemented while the implementing is good, including “the rehabilitation of Tiberias; the Transportation Minister’s emergency plan to deal with traffic jams; housing assistance for SLA veterans who were with us in Lebanon and whom we need to look after––which has been stuck for many years; a plan to mobilize Israeli high-tech for climate innovation, led by the Science and Innovation, Environmental Protection and Finance ministries; and actions to advance a visa exemption for travelers to the US. There is still much to do and in the next day or two you will manage to do as much as you can.”

“This was an excellent government, which depended on a complex coalition,” PM Bennett concluded. “There is here a group of people who knew how to put aside ideological differences, rise above and act for the State of Israel. See, some governments last longer but have few achievements to show for it; ours was a short-lived government with great achievements, a government that got things done. This was a term that will be remembered well and each one of us will have a share in it.”

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.