'Only Israeli citizens will determine who prime minister is'

PM declares will continue to strive for unity government: 'The contacts haven't stopped - they're taking place.'

Hezki Baruch,

Likud supporter's conference
Likud supporter's conference

Prime Minister and Likud Chairman Binyamin Netanyahu today met with leaders of Likud supporters from across the country. "I feel the energies on the ground. There are energies I haven't felt before - and I'm not usually optimistic. There is a lot of pain but also a lot of support from Israeli citizens," Netanyahu said at the meeting.

He said Likud's aspiration is still to form a unity government. "We still have a mission and that is, as far as possible, to form a unity government. Talks haven't stopped; they're taking place. It's precisely for reasons not all of which I can speak of. There are immediate challenges and they are not small. We attacked Gaza two weeks ago, Syria one week ago. There's a regional power that inscribed on its flag to destroy us and it's trying to shoot accurate missiles against us from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, and we have to fight them. I fight them, sometimes alone in the world. This war will determine whether we live or die.

"The IDF needs to be equipped, so I'm going to talk to Benny Gantz and now transfer NIS 4 billion to the IDF. This also is done in the face of immediate needs of local authorities. The country is ahead of all, so let's put it first - also in budgets that are now vital to security and life," Netanyahu added.

He criticized the conduct of the law enforcement system in his case: "The rule of law requires equality and not how it turned out in my case and in many cases. The citizens of Israel know it. The one to decide who will be prime minister is the citizens of Israel. This is the essence of democracy, the majority decides and it isn't determined or thwarted elsewhere. All these breakdowns should be checked. You can't get rid of witnesses with extortion and threats. This is not democracy. For the sake of democracy and for the rule of law, what's spoiled has to be corrected. No one's above the law - no prime minister, no president, no police, and no prosecutor's office. But I am sure of one thing - those who should elect the prime minister are Israeli citizens and not anyone else."

Chaim Bibas, the mayor of Modi'in and the chairman of the local government said, "We are all united in unequivocal support for Prime Minister Netanyahu. I urge all members to mobilize. This is the time we are being tested. There is no reason why in the world we do not do everything to stabilize and protect the prime minister."

Chaim Revivo, the Mayor of Lod, added: "All of us mayors now have a Case 2000. They took the power of elected officials and passed it on to the presidents and officials. There are quite a few mayors and elected officials who had legal proceedings opened against them that were closed in the end. Where are they today? Did anyone put them back in office after being ousted? Did anyone give them back their lost years? Does anyone remember that?"

Chairman of the Yesha Council and Jordan Valley Council Chairman David Alhayani told the Prime Minister, "We all came here today to strengthen you. It is important that we all express our clear support to mobilize the public. We are with you and send you reinforcements, to you and the whole family."

Zvika Brut, Mayor of Bat Yam, concluded that "your struggle is the struggle of us all - against selective enforcement, against legal processes whose goal has been decided in advance, against legal persecution. We strengthen you and your family and thank you for leading this fight of us all."