Bennett to PM Netanyahu: 'You don't really want us'

Negotiations between DM Bennett and PM Netanyahu explode after Netanyahu refuses 'to offer anything new.' Netanyahu: 'We won't budge.'

Hezki Baruch ,

Naftali Bennett and PM Netanyahu
Naftali Bennett and PM Netanyahu
Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Reports surfaced Tuesday morning that negotiations between Likud and Yamina exploded after a dificult conversation between Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Yamina's Chairman, Defense Minister Naftali Bennett.

During the conversation, Bennett told Netanyahu, "You don't really want us. For a month and a half you didn't offer us anything new. You're not treating us as partners who were loyal to you for a year. You're not seriously negotiating, and you want us out [of the coalition]."

For his part, Netanyahu told Bennett that the Likud's offer to Yamina was very generous, and would not change. "I'm offering you responsibility for the National Service girls, because that is what is important to your voters. We won't budge from our offer. You're worth six Knesset seats."

Yamina insists on receiving two influential portfolios, as well as chairmanship of the Knesset's Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee, in exchange for its agreement to join the unity government led by Netanyahu and Blue and White Chairman MK Benny Gantz.

"Netanyahu did not offer anything new," Yamina said Tuesday morning. "Bennett requested two significant portfolios, a deputy minister with authority, and the Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee. The Likud remained with its original offer - the Education and Jerusalem ministries, and the Committee for Public Petitions. That's a planned explosion [of negotiations] on the Likud's part."

According to the Likud, Bennett demanded the Health and Transportation ministries, as well as chairman ship of the Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee. "These are portfolios which have no connection to Religious Zionism and the size of the Yamina party's electorate. We didn't discuss the Committee for Public Petitions."

The Committee for Public Petitions is the committee the Likud offered Yamina in place of the Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee.

Earlier, Likud sources attacked Yamina, claiming that on Monday night "it became clear once and for all that Bennett and Yamina chose to leave the right-wing bloc," noting that "the first step was when Yamina refused to recommend Prime Minister Netanyahu to the President as a candidate to form the government, in direct contradiction to their voters' wishes."

The source added that instead of accepting Likud's offer, "the Yamina party is demanding four senior positions which have no connection to Religious Zionism. Bennett's refusal to accept this generous offer, which gives Yamina all the issues that are important to Religious Zionism, shows that it's not about ideology but about positions. It's sad that because of internal disagreements, Bennett and his friends in Yamina have chosen to join the leftist opposition, with [Yesh Atid Chairman MK] Yair Lapid and [Joint Arab List MK] Heba Yazbak."

"Religious Zionism will continue to be a central and leading part of Likud and the government's policy."

Yamina has stated that it will not join a government if it lacks the influence to effect change. "We will not be a right-wing fig leaf to a leftist government which has sold its right-wing values to Blue and White," the party said.