Bennett to Arutz Sheva:
'The Gantz-Bogie approach is unacceptable'

New Right chairman criticizes Netanyahu for failing to convene the cabinet: Do not be afraid of aggressive and creative plans.

Nitsan Keidar ,

Naftali Bennett
Naftali Bennett
Kobi Richter/TPS

New Right chairman and Education Minister Naftali Bennett, a member of the political-security cabinet, is furious at Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s decision to cancel the cabinet meeting that was supposed to take place on Wednesday to discuss the agreement being forged between Netanyahu and Hamas.

"I think that this is not a good decision, because I intend in the next cabinet meeting to once again place on the table my plan to deal with Hamas. I would mention that, as was published in the State Comptroller’s report, if Netanyahu had not convened the cabinet during Operation Protective Edge, I would not have been able to present the plan to destroy the tunnels and Hamas would have carried out a terrible attack and killed hundreds of Israelis through the 30 tunnels," Bennett told Arutz Sheva in an interview.

"Therefore, it is critical that Netanyahu convene the cabinet as soon as possible so that we can move forward in dealing with Hamas. They have been trying to accustom us in the last ten years that Hamas is a decree of fate and there is nothing to do against it. I don’t accept that. We know how to decide, if there is determination and daring. I continue to push for a cabinet meeting as soon as possible,” he added.

"The situation in the south is unbearable. I am there a lot. I slept there one night last week and visited Kerem Shalom. A state cannot allow its citizens to be permanently under fire without any horizon," continued Bennett.

Bennett has been trying to receive updates as a member of the cabinet in recent days, especially regarding the possibility of a truce agreement, but has not received any response. He is not surprised by that, he said.

"Netanyahu knows that I will advance a plan, like I did during Protective Edge, and that put everyone in a less comfortable place. It was more convenient to go with Benny Gantz and Bogie Ya'alon who said that there was no reason to do anything. In the end it worked out. My push for more aggressive and surprising actions helps the State of Israel, and I therefore expect that the minimum will be that Netanyahu will convene the cabinet. There’s no reason to be afraid of it. It's not too late."

In his opinion, the fact that Israel is in the final stretch before the election should not be a consideration in dealing with Hamas. "There have been excuses for the past ten years. One time they say that there is a war going on in the north, another time they say 'now is not the time.'" I went to be with the residents so that I can reflect to the cabinet what it means to be a resident of Sderot. When the defense ministers in recent years say there is nothing that can be done, what should the residents understand? That the government says we are giving in and letting [Hamas leader] Sinwar decide for us?”

"I expect that in the next government, if we get the sufficient power, I will be the defense minister and we will deal with Hamas. It's not a one time thing and we're done. It will take several months but we will bring security in the form of sterilizing Hamas. The Gantz-Bogie approach, to close your eyes in the face of the strengthening of Hamas and Hezbollah, is unacceptable to me," declared Bennett.

Asked whether the defense establishment does not see the problems he raises, Bennett replied, "I experienced this ten times during the last term. I very much appreciate experts, officials and military personnel. Ultimately, it is our responsibility as a political echelon is to instill the spirit of victory. There is a serious problem in the defense establishment, since many of those who come out of there say that there is not much to do against terror, and we must turn to the diplomatic channel."

"There is also a problem that many officers who know how to win cannot rise in the ranks. There are more than 50% religious officers at Training Base 1, but there is not a single General Staff member who wears a kippah. So if you do not align with the liberal and humanistic agenda that sanctifies the enemy's life, then something gets stuck along the way. We have to go back and defeat Hamas," Bennett concluded.

Listen to the interview with Minister Naftali Bennett (in Hebrew):