Bennett to Arutz Sheva:
'Netanyahu, don't topple your own government'

Jewish Home chairman tells Arutz Sheva his party is working to stabilize coalition, prevent early elections.

Uzi Baruch,

Minister of Education Naftali Bennett
Minister of Education Naftali Bennett
Hillel Meir/TPS

With the future of Binyamin Netanyahu’s governing coalition in doubt, one of the Prime Minister’s primary coalition partners expressed optimism snap elections can be avoided, adding that the Jewish Home faction is working to help avert and government collapse.

Education Minister and Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett spoke with Arutz Sheva Tuesday, saying that despite recent developments, the coalition would likely avoid be able to avoid snap elections.

“There are understandings between all of the coalition members to ensure passage of the draft law and the state budget. No party in the coalition wants to topple the government, they want to reach a joint solution. I call on the Prime Minister not to topple this right-wing government.”

If new elections are called, however, Bennett vowed to back Netanyahu for the premiership, and predicted his Jewish Home party would be the “dominant” coalition partner in the next government.

“We’re strive to be the dominant force in the government, with the Defense and Justice portfolios. It is important to remember that if we’re weak [after the next election], we could be left out of the government altogether in the worst situation, or at best we’ll be minor [partners] with zero influence on the State of Israel.”

“Of course I’ll stand behind him,” Bennett said of the Prime Minister, saying that the recent recommendation by police to indict Netanyahu were not grounds for resignation.

“Recommendations and hearings aren’t the grounds for a decision [to bolt the government]. If and when a final indictment is issued, then we’ll decide what to do, depending on the exact situation.”

Netanyahu reached an accord with haredi lawmakers Sunday night on a bill aimed at protecting IDF draft deferments for yeshiva students, ending threats by the United Torah Judaism party to vote against the state budget and topple the government, the deal sparked a new crisis with Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu party.

Yisrael Beytenu, which has opposed maintaining open-ended draft deferments for full-time yeshiva students, threatened Monday to bolt the government if and when the haredi-backed draft bill is passed into law.

“If the law is passed in its current form – we’re out,” Yisrael Beytenu MK Oded Forer told Channel 10 on Monday.

Forer did, however, indicate his party was not dropping out of the government immediately, but would wait until final passage of the bill this summer.

“We won’t let our hands be tied when it comes to security matters. We’ll leave the coalition if the bill is passed in the second and third readings.”

The Prime Minister has reportedly warned Yisrael Beytenu that he will fire Immigration Minister Sofa Landver from his government if she continues to vote against the haredi-backed draft bill. Landver was the sole minister who opposed the draft bill during a vote in the Ministerial Committee on Legislation on Monday, and appealed the committee’s decision in favor of the bill.

In response, Yisrael Beytenu officials vowed to leave the government immediately if Landver is removed from her position – leaving Netanyahu with a bare majority of 61 seats in the 120 seat Knesset.