In a strongly-worded speech, Opposition leader Yitzhak Herzog demanded that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu “go home,” and take with him Education Minister Naftali Bennett, whose “policies have failed, and are leading us to another Masada,” isolated from the world and “forever living on its sword.”
Herzog made the remarks at the opening gathering of the Knesset winter session, speaking after Netanyahu said that Israel had faced tougher problems than the current wave of Palestinian terrorism, and would beat this round of terror as well. Herzog demurred, saying that “Netanyahu claims to be 'managing' the conflict, along with Bennett. The way you are handling the conflict has turned into a knife to stab us in the back, a knife in the back of Israelis.
“I feel as if I am working against Prime Minister Golda Meir during the Yom Kippur War, who rejected all ideas for peace prior to the war,” Herzog said of Netanyahu. “The writing is on the wall,” said Herzog, but Netanyahu fails to understand that his policies were leading nowhere.
Herzog also had harsh words for Bennett, saying that his proposal to annex Area C of Judea and Samaria, “and add 70,000 Arabs to Israel's population by giving them citizenship,” was just the beginning. “One day we will find ourselves a minority between the Mediterranean and the Jordan, and then our lives will truly be hell. If we do not work towards a two state solution, this is what will happen under the leadership of Bennett and his friends.”
Herzog's speech was marked by frequent outbursts from Jewish Home MKs, including Bennett, who came close to getting ejected by speaker Yuli Edelstein for shouting down Herzog. Catcalls also came from the left when Herzog accused Meretz of being “too radical leftist,” and even from members of his own party when he invoked the name of Golda Meir.
Herzog added that there was no chance of joining the coalition. “What Israel needs is a strong voice opposed to this government's failed policies,” he said. “You are not leaders,” he told government ministers. “This is not the way to lead. You will lead us to tragedy.”