Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid
Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid FLASH90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is preparing for new elections, with the Prime Minister being quoted as saying he is concerned about a renewal of the alliance between Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) and Yesh Atid chief Yair Lapid.

Ahead of the 2013 elections, Lapid and Bennett campaigned together and declared a political alliance, with each refusing to join a coalition government without the other’s inclusion, in an effort to form a powerful bloc to counter the haredi parties Shas and United Torah Judaism.

The two succeeded in forcing the establishment of a Netanyahu coalition without the haredi factions in 2013, but the alliance was abandoned by the time new elections were held in 2015 due to Yesh Atid's policies and Bennett built a working relationship with the haredi parties.

Netanyahu apparently is concerned the alliance between Lapid and Bennett is being revived, and that with the help of President Reuven Rivlin, the three hope to unseat Netanyahu as Prime Minister.

Rivlin, a former Likud MK, was a long-time rival of Netanyahu within the party.

“Bennett will back Lapid as Prime Minister over every other candidate, and Lapid will need Bennett to [gain a majority] to go to the president to form a government,” Netanyahu is quoted as saying.

“The president will look for any opportunity to let Lapid form a government, and to settle the score with me.”

The Prime Minister’s comments may be ploy to lure right-wing religious voters concerned by the possibility of a Lapid premiership away from the Jewish Home and to the Likud.

Officials from the Jewish Home party responded to the Prime Minister’s comments, telling Arutz Sheva that Netanyahu’s claims had no basis whatsoever in fact.

“This is complete nonsense. It would be better for the Prime Minister to end the [building] freeze in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria, to stop approving [construction for] Arab cities near Highway 6,” a reference to plans for the expansion of Qalqiliya near the Green Line, “and to stop making a mockery of right-wing voters as he moves to the left of Lapid.”

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