Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Opposition Leader Benjamin Netanyahu

Bennett and Netanyahu lampoon one another in Knesset tempest

PM excoriates predecessor over handling of Hamas, pandemic and accuses opposition of pushing for endless election cycles; opposition leader equates government to sinking of Titanic

Moran Azulay |
Published: 05.16.22, 23:35
A rowdy Knesset session Monday saw Prime Minister Naftali Bennett bash his predecessor Opposition Leader Benjamin Netanyahu who responded in kind with his own scathing criticism.
  • Follow Ynetnews on Facebook and Twitter

  • Speaking at the plenum during a discussion initiated at the request of 40 members of the opposition, Bennett responded to criticism leveled at him from the opposition benches, all while accentuating his coalition’s achievements.
    4 View gallery
    נתניהו בנט
    נתניהו בנט
    Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Opposition Leader Benjamin Netanyahu
    (Photo: Yoav Dudkevitch)
    "We are now almost a year after the formation of the Israeli government. This year, we have saved the country from a state of deep neglect,” the premier said.
    “One year ago, I talked about the level of unemployment which today is minuscule. We took responsibility and there hasn't been a single day of [coronavirus-induced] lockdown. It's called management."
    The prime minister also touched on the rising security tensions around the country, as well as Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar — who was released in 2011 under Netanyahu as part of a prisoner exchange deal with the terror group.
    4 View gallery
    Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar holds the child of an Al-Qassam Brigades fighter, who was killed in the recent fighting with Israel
    Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar holds the child of an Al-Qassam Brigades fighter, who was killed in the recent fighting with Israel
    Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar
    (Photo: AFP)
    “The leader of Hamas was released by my predecessor. And unlike the policy of the previous government that only could get hit by rockets — 13,000 rockets — and do nothing, we are attacking,” added Bennett as he continued blasting Netanyahu’s previous governments and the current opposition.
    “Don't even get me started on the massive Iranian abyss you left us. You preferred more and more elections. The opposition's vision is elections, and the government's vision is jobs and livelihood."
    4 View gallery
    נפתלי בנט במליאת הכנסת
    נפתלי בנט במליאת הכנסת
    Prime Minister Naftali Bennett at the Knesset plenum, May 16
    (Photo: Yoav Dudkevitch)
    “Terrorism rears its head, claims victims, harms wonderful people, including the brave service men and women who protect us,” said Netanyahu.
    "We all see the raging incitement of our adversaries, the calls to expel Jews, the T-shirts with rifle prints, the [Palestinian Liberation Organization] flags flying at the Jaffa Gate and in Mamilla [in Jerusalem] and in the center of Lod," Netanyahu said, winning jeers from MK Ayman Odeh, the head of the predominately Arab Joint List.
    "Naftali Bennett… you established this fraudulent government, you said that an experiment is being done here. The State of Israel is not an experiment, everyone understands that your experiment did not pan out. You are gambling with the lives of all of us, and we are all paying the price. Like compulsive gamblers, you don't know when to quit. And like on the Titanic, the orchestra on deck keeps playing as the ship sinks. Everyone understands that what is sinking this government is its lack of morals,” added Netanyahu, who further claimed that world leaders were calling him to express their concerns about the situation in Israel.
    4 View gallery
    בנימין נתניהו במליאת הכנסת
    בנימין נתניהו במליאת הכנסת
    Opposition Leader Benjamin Netanyahu at the Knesset plenum, May 16
    (Photo: Yoav Dudkevitch)
    "In a short time span, you transformed the State of Israel into a country no one gives two licks about… Into a country one can’t walk around in the streets, your weakness exudes."
    The opposition leader also lauded former coalition whip Idit Silman and MK Amichai Chikli, both of whom are members of Bennett's Yamina party who resigned from the coalition, saying "they represent the public that sent you to the Knesset.”
    Talkbacks for this article 0