Netanyahu Vows to Build Israel ‘Broad, Stable Government’ Without Relying on ‘Terror Supporters’

srael's former premier Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to the press at the Knesset (parliament)

Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to  form “a broad, strong, and stable national government” that would “restore national pride” following what he called the “fall of the worst government in Israel’s history.”

His remarks came in the wake of a dramatic announcement by Israel’s coalition heads that they would introduce a bill to dissolve the Knesset, sending Israelis to the polls for the fifth election in three years. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett would step down and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid would take over as interim prime minister until elections are held at the end of October.

“This is an evening of great news for millions of citizens,” Netanyahu said.

He accused the current coalition of causing “great suffering” to Israel, and “generating a loss of national pride.”

“It was a government that abandoned the personal security of citizens of Israel, and that raised the cost of living to new heights,” the opposition leader said.

Israeli demonstrators raise signs showing the face of former prime minister and current leader of the opposition Benjamin Netanyahu during an anti-government protest in Jerusalem on April 6, 2022. (MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP via Getty Images)

The historic Bennett-Lapid coalition was formed a year ago between right-wing, centrist, leftist, and notably, the Islamist Ra’am party – marking the first time an Arab party sat in a ruling coalition.

Netanyahu slammed Ra’am’s inclusion in the coalition, saying it resulted in a  “government that was dependent on supporters of terrorism.”

“I will not sit in a government with [Ra’am chief] Mansour Abbas, and I did not sit with Mansour Abbas,” Netanyahu said.

Ra’am leader Mansour Abbas said that he would not rule out sitting with Likud in a government if it meant furthering the interests of the Arab sector.

Earlier on Monday, Bennett gave a joint press briefing with Lapid in which he said the decision to dissolve the government was in the “best interests of the country.”

“We are facing you today in a very difficult moment, but with the understanding that we made the right decision for Israel,” he said.

The decision was spurred by the government’s failure to pass a key bill extending civil law to Israeli residents in the West Bank, he said.

The Netanyahu-led opposition scuttled the bill’s preliminary vote — even though ideologically it was in favor of it — because it sought to topple the government at any cost.

If the bill does not pass by July 1, the ramifications would be enormous and Israel would pay a heavy security price.

Nearly half a million Israelis who live in the West Bank would not be bound by Israeli law and would not have voting rights. Israelis who commit crimes in those areas will be tried in military courts and serve time in the West Bank.

Furthermore, Israel Police will no longer have the jurisdiction to investigate Israeli settlers who are suspected of committing crimes, and neither would it have the power to investigate Israelis — including Arab citizens of Israel — who commit crimes inside Israel and who subsequently fled to the West Bank.

“I did not agree to harm Israel’s security,” Bennett said on Monday evening.

Summarizing the past year of governance, the departing prime minister said: “We formed a government that many thought was impossible. We extracted Israel from the terrible pit it was in. A year ago there was mass unemployment, a big deficit, riots, missiles on Jerusalem. There was paralysis on the part the government. With the help of God, we managed to form a government.”

Lapid said the hard decision to dissolve the Knesset was proof Israel was “in desperate need of a profound change.”

“We need to return to a place of unity and not allow the forces of darkness unravel us from within. We need to remind ourselves that we love each other, love our country, and that only by working together can we win,” said the foreign minister.


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