Bennett: Netanyahu Planning Leftist Coalition

Bennett responds to Likud's attacks on his remarks, charges Netanyahu with planning to form a coalition with Livni and Lapid.

Elad Benari,

Naftali Bennett
Naftali Bennett
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is planning to establish a coalition with leftist parties rather than nationalist ones, Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) chairman Naftali Bennett charged on Monday.

Bennett made the comments in an interview with Channel 2 News, which came after the Likud chose to attack him over his remarks on expelling Jews from their homes.

"Netanyahu prefers to have next to him weak parties that have no effect. He wants to navigate alone," said Bennett. "We want to hold the wheel together with him."

"I'm worried about Netanyahu after I heard he plans to build a leftist coalition together with Tzipi Livni and Yair Lapid," he added.

Bennett, who served in the elite IDF unit Sayeret Matkal, said during a television interview last Thursday that if he ever receives an order to evict Jews, he would ask his commander to release him from his position and added he would be willing to serve time in prison over this issue.

While he did not advocate refusing to obey orders, candidates from other parties and particularly from the Likud were quick to seize the opportunity to claim that he did.

On Sunday, the Likud launched a massive anonymous ad campaign which appeared in all the country's newspapers and which claimed that Bennett is dangerous to democracy, while presenting his quotes from the television interview.

The campaign followed a slew of interviews by Likud members who spoke out against Bennett. These interviews included several by Netanyahu himself, in which he hinted that he would not allow Bennett to be part of his coalition because of his remarks.

Responding to the Likud's campaign against him, Bennett told Channel 2, "A person from the nationalist camp does not attack another member of the nationalist camp. It's completely unnecessary. We should be bringing in votes from Livni."

He added, "A debate over policy is fine, but to get up in the morning and see a flood of anonymous personal ads against you is not right."

Meanwhile, a poll released Monday showed that the attacks on Bennett have only served to enlarge and consolidate his party's base of support.

The poll found that the Jewish Home gains one seat, compared to a previous poll, and receiving 13 Knesset seats, whereas the joint Likud Beytenu list remains stable at 36 seats.