Bennett: We will lead the government when Netanyahu's time is up

Education Minister Bennett says the government won't collapse, no reason to hold elections over police recommendation.

Uzi Baruch,

Naftali Bennett
Naftali Bennett
Hillel Meir/ TPS

Education Minister and Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett on Monday spoke at the fifteenth annual Jerusalem Conference and later was interviewed by Channel 2's Ofer Hadad.

"Instead of dealing with Hezbollah and other terror organizations, we need to deal with the head of the snake - Iran," Bennett said. "It is inconceivable that our soldiers fight in Sajiyya, fighting Iranian proxies, while their rulers sit tranquilly in Tehran."

"This is not yet the Cabinet's official opinion, but I assume that in another few months, everyone will think as I do. I cannot go into detail, but it is inconceivable that we continue dealing with the proxies."

"I want to remind you of how I began my political career. [During the Second Lebanon War.] they told us to pick out the Hezbollah terrorirst with a pair of tweezers, making sure that no innocent civilians were hurt in the process. There's no such thing. If there is a terrorist in a home, then that home is a military base and it will be destroyed."

Bennett also explained the importance of his party's presence in the current coalition.

"We are the backbone of this government, and we are very influential," he said. "After Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's era is over, I intend for us to lead the country. Prior to 2013, Netanyahu believed in a two-state solution, and now his policy has changed."

"When he (Netanyahu - ed.) acts in a way that serves Israel, I support him. And when it's not exactly the way we think he should act, then I try to change that. The fact is, we passed the Regulation Law despite that fact that we were told the world would collapse. I don't think that we have any mutual agreements, but we do have a lot of mutual respect and honor."

Regarding the investigations against Netanyahu, Bennett said he "hopes the government will not collapse."

"I wish from the bottom of my heart that the Prime Minister is found innocent and continues leading the State of Israel. An indictment seems very far off, and certainly, police recommendations are not a reason for new elections."

Police investigations of suspicions that Netanyahu, said to be a non-smoker, received cigars and champagne from wealthy supporters, including Israeli businessman and Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan and Australian tycoon James Packer, are nearing completion.

In a second case, police suspect that Netanyahu sought more favorable coverage with the publisher of the popular Yediot Aharonot newspaper.

The alleged scheme, not believed to have been finalized, would have seen Netanyahu receive favorable coverage in return for helping curb Yediot's competitor, the more popular daily freebie Israel Hayom.

Thanking the Jerusalem Conference's organizers, Bennett said, "There are two people here who changed the 'ship's direction'. Today, it is taken for granted that there are right-wing media outlets, but once there were none. I would like to thank Arutz Sheva's Rebbetzin Shulamit Melamed, and Besheva CEO Dudu Saada. You paved the way for all of us, and it is not something to be taken for granted. Thank you very much."


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