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Naftali Bennett
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Bennett to Likud: Man up to smear campaign
Habayit Hayehudi chair lashes out at Likud over harsh criticism leveled at him, says 'anonymous slander is cowardly'

Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett lashed out against right-wing elements in the Likud who leveled harsh criticism against him over the weekend, following his remarks about disobedience within IDF ranks.

 

Bennett accused the Likud on Sunday of launching an anonymous smear campaign against him, saying: "Man up! Sign your name to this campaign. You want to drag my name through the mud? Fine. But anonymous slander is cowardly."

 

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Bennett gave an interview Thursday and commented on disobedience within military ranks concerning the eviction of West Bank settlements.

 

The comment was blasted by both the Left and the Right, with the Likud using it to try and stunt Habayit Hayehudi's success in recent polls.

 

"I never called (for soldiers) to refuse orders," Bennett said in a press conference held Saturday night. "But the Likud and the political sphere pounced on my remarks, distorted them and made it look like I called for disobedience. They undermined the IDF's unity for a quarter of a Knesset seat.

 

"I am not a private citizen but a public leader. So now I state in no uncertain terms: An order to uproot an Arab village or a Jewish settlement violates the most basic of human rights... It's a difficult dilemma. I pray with all my heart that no such order is issued ever again. But the bottom line is, if there is no other choice … a soldier must follow the army's orders."

 

The joint Likud-Beiteinu campaign dismissed the allegations, saying that "Disobedience is a poisonous phenomenon to both Israeli society and the IDF. Anyone who supports disobedience in the Right, cannot oppose disobedience by the Left.

 

"We are working hard to explain to the public the dangers this phenomenon harbors. Backing it in any way is an irresponsible political position."

  

Shahar Chai and Tzvika Brot are Ynet and Yedioth Ahronoth correspondents

 

 

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