Naftali Bennett: 'If I win 15 seats in the elections, I'll be prime minister'

'Only I can prevent fifth elections,' Yamina chair MK Naftali Bennett says. 'I won't excommunicate PM Netanyahu, I'll shake his hand, say thank you, and replace him.'

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Naftali Bennett
Naftali Bennett
Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Two weeks prior to the elections, Yamina MK Naftali Bennett is sure he will be the next prime minister, replacing Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who has served in the position since 2009.

In an interview with Israel Hayom, Bennett said: "I will not excommunicate Netanyahu, but immediately after Passover, we will shake his hand, we will tell him, 'Thank you very much,' and we will replace him."

In the interview, which will be published in Hebrew in its entirety on Friday, Bennett slammed his political rivals: "I feel as if they drew a target on my back. For several months already, [New Hope chair Gideon] Sa'ar has been been publishing anonymous messages against me. Netanyahu has been doing it for a few years already. [Religious Zionism chair MK Bezalel] Smotrich started a campaign against me. Gideon has run an anonymous and illegal campaign against us for some time already. Only when we caught him red-handed did he admit to it, and then he remembered to call for a ceasefire. Even now, members of his party continue their attacks against us."

"I'm not giving out grades; Gideon Sa'ar is an experienced politician and he's not a bad person. The most important thing today is innovation, energy, managing a large national crisis. In the time I have spent going around the country, I opened [coronavirus] hotels during my term as Defense Minister and we made sure to save lives. I don't know what he has done. Leaders need to be examined during times of crisis."

"I admire Bezalel," he said. "I was surprised by his decision to start a new party and everything, but I have no doubt that on the day after the elections, we will be able to work together. From the start of the campaign, Smotrich has said that we don't have any more values, that we'll sit with Arabs and leftists and Hitler-lovers. I think that's not serious. It's disappointing to see a campaign which is entirely based on attacking us."

Bennett emphasized that he will not sit together with Yesh Atid Chairman MK Yair Lapid. "Lapid is a leftist. I won't be a partner in forming a leftist government. I am looking at his policies throughout the years, at his attacks against settlers during the expulsion from Gush Katif, at his statements that 'the money is buried between Itamar and Yitzhar.' When it comes down to it, Lapid is there on the Left. I will form the government. We will replace Netanyahu only from the Right, not from the Left."

The haredi parties, he said, "can be partners in a government, but not the ones in charge. The ones in charge of the government are the entire public."

"If I win 15 seats, I will be prime minister," he promised. "Believe me, I know how to do it. I will succeed, thanks to the fact that I am not part of the cult boycotting Netanyahu and I'm not part of the cult admiring Netanyahu. There's a feeling among some of the nationalist public that Israel won't exist on the day after Netanyahu. He has managed to imprint this, but it's not true. Immediately after Passover, we will shake Netanyahu's hand, say, 'thank you very much,' and replace him."

"Only I can prevent fifth elections," Bennett emphasized. "I will not allow it to happen. We will form a nationalist government of change. In it we can have parties which are not from the Right, I have no problem with them, as long as I am the prime minister. Everyone who is in favor of a Jewish and democratic state can be part of the nationalist government of change, which will propel Israel forward."



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