Yamina chief Naftali Bennett announced Sunday night that he will work to form a national unity government.
Speaking at a press conference Sunday, the former Defense Minister committed to working with Yesh Atid chief and Opposition Leader Yair Lapid to form a unity government.
"I will work with all my might to form a national unity government with my friend, Yair Lapid," Bennett told reporters.
“For the past two-and-a-half years the State of Israel has been in a tailspin. One election after another – for four election cycles we’ve watched our country hurt itself, weaken itself, and diminish its ability to function.”
“Government ministers squabble while failing to manage anything. There are riots and synagogues are burned in Lod and Acre (Akko), a fatal neglect and abandonment of responsibility in the Meron disaster.”
“And every time, instead of dealing with things, fixing things, leading, the standard [governmental] response is to project the blame outwards, to encourage hatred and tensions between sectors of the population, in order to cover up the mistakes.”
"Two thousand years ago, there was a Jewish state which fell here because of internal quarrels. This will not happen again. Not on my watch. The political crisis in Israel is unprecedented on a global level. We could end up with fifth, sixth, even tenth elections, dismantling the walls of the country, brick by brick, until our house falls in on us."
Bennett said that there was no path for the formation of a right-wing government headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, adding that there was no possibility of finding ‘defectors’ willing to join such a government from other parties.
“There is someone telling us that a right-wing government is just around the corning, and we’re the ones who are preventing its formation. That is a complete lie. After four elections and two additional months we have all seeing that there just will not be a right-wing government headed by Netanyahu.”
“The choice is between a fifth election, or a unity government. Don’t let them tell you lies. There won’t be any defectors, there aren’t any two extra votes to get to 61 [MKs]. And anyone who tells you otherwise is a bald-faced liar.”
Bennett blamed Prime Minister Netanyahu for the failure to enlist New Hope chief Gideon Sa’ar for the formation of a new government, saying that Netanyahu had lost the trust of fellow leaders.
“This morning there was another public attempt to form a government like this, with Gideon Sa’ar being first in rotation and Netanyahu second. Of course, I gave my agreement.”
“The attempt failed because no one believes the promises will be kept. Mr. Netanyahu isn’t even really trying to form a right-wing government, because he knows well that there can’t be one. He wants to take the whole nationalist camp with him, and the whole country as well, to his own private fortress.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu convened his own press conference at 8:30 PM (Jerusalem time).
Earlier on Sunday, MKs from the Yamina party met in Ra’anana in central Israel Sunday afternoon to discuss party chairman Naftali Bennett’s plans to form a new government.
In a statement released by the party Sunday afternoon, Yamina announced that the entire party’s Knesset delegation who attended the meeting backed Bennett in his bid to form a unity government to avoid new elections.
“Bennett updated the MKs regarding the events of the last few days and his efforts to form a stable, functioning government in Israel,” the announcement read.
“The faction unanimously backed Bennett and his efforts to form a government and avoid a fifth round of elections.”
One Yamina MK, Amichai Chikli, was absent from the meeting, however, over his staunch opposition to a unity government with the Left.
“We can either form a government or go to new elections, which would destroy the Right,” said Bennett. “There would be no breakthrough in new elections.”
“How many times do we have to abuse the country to understand that there is no right-wing government? Leadership means taking responsibility and not running away from it. We have red lines, and we will stand by them. We won’t surrender land and we won’t harm the Jewish identity of the State of Israel. The easiest thing to do is to entrench yourself in your position and pour fuel on the fire, as others have done. That’s how you tear a country apart.”