Bennett: High chance of new elections

In first podcast session, MK Bennett discusses political deadlock, dangers of new elections.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Flash 90

MK Naftali Bennett, who co-chairs the New Right party, on Wednesday launched a podcast channel called "At eye level." During the first episode, Bennett discussed the political crisis, responding to several popular issues.

Explaining why he turned down an offer to become minister, Bennett said his decision stems from the fact that he does not believe he can make a difference in such a short-term government, since a coalition must be formed soon, or there will be new elections.

Regarding his relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, he said: "We're not good friends or nothing, what happened after the elections is that I understood that the results weren't good and I told him, 'I'm at your service if you want to form a government.' And since then I've been running between the two sides in order to try to bring about a unity government."

"Last week I understood that we were at a dead end. I estimate that there is a very very high chance we will hold new elections, if [Yisrael Beytenu Chairman MK Avigdor] Liberman does not climb down from his tree."

Noting that a third round of elections raises the chance of a left-wing government and a higher percentage of Arab voters, Bennett said he is "very pessimistic" regarding the right. "I think that new elections right now will be a very big blow with a very great danger of a leftist government."

"The biggest issue with the elections is the Arabs. There's a mega-strategic event here: Israeli Arabs see their representatives in the Knesset as representing them more in civil issues and less in nationalistic issues...they're very excited about that. As Education Minister I made sure to give them the tools to succeed in Israeli society, but analyzing it politically, I see a dramatic rise in the participation in the next elections, which will be held in March. Their strength will increase from 13 Knesset seats to 15/16, that's a game changer. [Blue and White Chairman MK Benny] Gantz will be able to form a government with the Blue and White, Arabs, and leftists with more than 61 Knesset seats. We need to avoid elections at all costs."

Regarding Interior Minister Aryeh Deri's (Shas) proposal to directly elect the prime minister, Bennett said: "I think that Netanyahu has more of a chance of winning such elections, and that would pull us out of the deadlock. All of this would be a one-time, a temporary measure, not regularly. I tend to be in favor if it, we need to look into it more. But in general it's a very creative proposal."