Key Israel minister criticises Netanyahu, but staying in coalition

Key Israel minister criticises Netanyahu, but staying in coalition

Jerusalem (AFP) – A key member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition criticised the premier’s behaviour on Wednesday after police recommended his indictment for corruption but said he would remain in the government.

“A prime minister is not meant to be perfect or live an over-modest lifestyle, but he needs to be someone people look at and say: ‘This is how one should act’,” Education Minister Naftali Bennett said in a speech in Tel Aviv.

“Taking gifts in large sums over a long period of time is not living up to this standard,” he added, while stressing Netanyahu was innocent until proven guilty.

Bennett heads the far-right party Jewish Home, which holds eight seats in parliament. Netanyahu’s coalition controls 66 out of 120 seats in total.

The education minister has ambitions to be prime minister, but he made clear he was remaining in Netanyahu’s coalition for now and would wait for the attorney general to decide how to move forward with the case.

“Some claim the prime minister cannot manage the country under the stress of investigations, but I do not see this,” he said.

“We have a good government, dealing with security, economy and everything else. Replacing it should be done at the voting station.”