Hours after he apologized to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Economy Minister Naftali Bennett pledged on Wednesday night to “continue to speak the truth.”
In a post on his Facebook page, Bennett thanked all those who supported him and strengthened him over the past several days as he came under fire after criticizing Netanyahu for suggesting that Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria be allowed to live under Palestinian Authority (PA) control in a future agreement.
"It's been a few days complicated days," wrote Bennett, adding, "I just wanted to say to all the good people who strengthened me: I love you, my sisters and brothers."
One person wrote Bennett that he appreciates his honesty, to which the Economy Minister replied, "Don’t worry. I will continue to speak the truth and fight for our positions. I promise.”
Earlier, Bennett issued a public apology to Netanyahu, saying, "In recent days there has been a lot of discussion about the idea of the PA retaining sovereignty over Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, and certain people from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) have tried to turn an existential conversation into personal attacks [on the PM] that were never there.”
"If the Prime Minister was hurt [by my remarks] - that was never my intention,” he clarified, adding that while he is apologizing for his remarks, he maintains the right to criticize, saying, "I support the Prime Minister like I have to and I criticize him like I have to. It is my obligation."
Officials close to Netanyahu later expressed satisfaction that Netanyahu’s ultimatum to Economy Minister Naftali Bennett had worked, clarifying that the letter dismissing Bennett was ready and would have been delivered on Sunday had Bennett not apologized for his remarks against Netanyahu.
Those same officials said that the ultimatum had worked “faster than they could have imagined”. Housing Minister Uri Ariel of Bennett’s Jewish Home party had reportedly mediated between the sides and led to Bennett’s apology.