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.
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.
"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.
“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."
Shortly after, Netanyahu took the stand, and blamed the recent flurry of terror attacks on what he described as the government’s weakness and lack of deterrence.
“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.
"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."