Against the backdrop of the difficult coalition negotiations, Habayit Hayehudi leader Naftali Bennett offered his take on the complicated relations with the ruling Likud-Beiteinu party and his alliance with Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid.
Bennett wrote on Facebook Sunday that the alliance is meant to prevent the establishment of a government without the religious Zionists that would make concessions to the Palestinians during peace negotiations.
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Without Habayit Hayehudi or Yesh Atid, which won a combined 31 mandates in the January elections, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will have difficulties forming a new coalition. Bennett said his party decided to work in coordination with Yair Lapid "because of Likud's decision to keep Habayit Hayehudi out of the government. Without this coordination, a Livni-Kadima-Shas-Yesh Atid-Likud-Beiteinu government would have been established, without religious Zionism or Habayit Hayehudi.
'Socioeconomic focus.' Lapid (L) with Bennett (Photo: Gettimages)
"Such a government would have raced along the diplomatic line of (Hatnua Chairwoman Tzipi) Livni - ceding Jerusalem, ceding Ariel, obsessed with the PLO, etc.," Bennett wrote on his Facebook page.
The Habayit Hayehudi leader explained that his alliance with Lapid has created a new political reality and will "force" Likud-Beiteinu to bring his party into the coalition.
Due to the cooperation between Yesh Atid and Habayit Hayehudi, the next government "will have a socioeconomic focus, not only a diplomatic one," Bennett said. "The government will focus on socioeconomic issues in Israel – lowering housing prices, education (…); it will not just deal obsessively with the negotiations with Abu Mazen (Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas).
Habayit Hayehudi's leader hinted that the party would apparently not break the alliance with Lapid. "We will not deviate from our principles. The public will judge us according to the next four years," he wrote.