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Netanyahu: I offered Bennett rotation as prime minister



Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday offered Yamina chairman Naftali Bennett a rotation agreement for the first time in which the latter would serve as prime minister for a year before he would return to lead the government.

The offer came a day before Netanyahu’s mandate to form a government expires at midnight on Tuesday.

“In order to prevent the formation of a left-wing government, I told Naftali Bennett that I would be willing to accept his request for a rotation agreement in which he would serve as prime minister for a year,” Netanyahu said. “Yamina members would receive important posts in the government and the Knesset. And if we, God forbid, do not form a government, although I don’t think it would come to that, we would run on a combined list for the Knesset, in which his entire party maintains its identity and its relative power.

Netanyahu expressed confidence that if Bennett were to sign such a deal, a government could be formed, even though the Religious Zionist Party has not agreed to the external support of Ra’am. New Hope has ruled out backing a government in which Netanyahu would be part of the prime ministerial rotation.

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“Bennett wrote ten days ago that a right-wing government could be formed if I step aside for the first year,” Netanyahu said. “I moved. Now it’s your turn.”

Netanyahu later tweeted that once Bennett committed himself to a right-wing government, others would join.

“They are waiting only for you,” Netanyahu wrote. “The real obstacle to forming a right-wing government is your refusal to remove a left-wing government from the agenda and promise to join a right-wing government.”

Responding to Netanyahu, Bennett said the prime minister was just trying to blame him for his failure to build a government.

He said Religious Zionist Party leader Bezalel Smotrich’s refusal to join Netanyahu’s government was the real problem.

Bennett said his top priority remains forming a right-wing government, but the obstacle to forming a right-wing government is not Yamina.

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“I didn’t ask him to head the government but for there to be a government, and he doesn’t have one because of Smotrich,” Bennett said.

“Netanyahu formed a satellite party and lost control over it.”
Smotrich said that if Netanyahu and Bennett were to set their egos aside, a right-wing government could be formed immediately.

Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid told his faction that the second mandate from Rivlin must go to him, not Bennett.

But he said Bennett could trust him to keep his promise to go first in a rotation in the Prime Minister’s Office, and he should not trust Netanyahu.

“What I offered will be kept, and what Netanyahu offered will never happen,” Lapid said.

Lapid said he would not rule out a coalition with two Arab parties that would not include Yamina but that he did not want to “play games.”

New Hope leader Gideon Sa’ar said there was no chance he would change his mind and join a government in which Netanyahu would serve as prime minister.

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“There are those who say my refusal to join a Netanyahu-led government is because of personal reasons or because of ego, when it is really because of what he has done as prime minister, Sa’ar told his faction.

“Netanyahu moving for a year to the post of alternate prime minister and then continuing as prime minister is not what New Hope voters voted for,” Sa’ar said. “New Hope voters voted for change.”

Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman told his faction that it is possible for all the parties in the anti-Netanyahu camp to form a government by Tuesday night.

Labor leader Merav Michaeli said she was sure a government of change could be formed immediately and her party would not stand in its way.

Meretz MK Essawi Frej criticized the Yamina leader at Meretz’s faction meeting, saying “Bennett is not acting like a partner but like a marketer.”

Credit: The Jerusalem Post


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