Netanyahu: We're preparing for elections, but may form government without it

Former PM tells reporters Bennett and Lapid's decision to dissolve Knesset, triggering snap elections, is a chance to 'get rid of the worst government in the history of Israel'; adds will not form a coalition with Islamist Ra'am party

Moran Azulay|
Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday his faction was preparing for an election, but has not ruled out forming an alternative government without holding a snap vote.
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  • The former prime minister made the comments shortly after Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid announced their intention to dissolve the Knesset, triggering Israel's fifth snap election in just three years.
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    בנימין נתניהו
    בנימין נתניהו
    Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu
    "Something big has happened here today. People are smiling tonight because they feel we are getting rid of the worst government in the history of Israel," Netanyahu told reporters, adding that he will not form a coalition with the Islamist Ra'am party and its chairman, Mansour Abbas.
    "This is a government that succumbed to terrorism, to blackmail, lost the ability to control the cities of Israel. The country has been yanked from under our feet by this government. There is a sense of loss of personal security - something that bothers everyone.
    "The cost of living is setting new heights, there is loss of national pride and people who are afraid to wave Israeli flags."
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    נפתלי בנט  בהצהרות לתקשורת
    נפתלי בנט  בהצהרות לתקשורת
    Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid
    (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)
    Netanyahu added that Bennett's government doesn't care "for the citizens of Israel, the West Bank or anyone but themselves," and the state requires a "rehabilitation" and "fundamental correction".
    "I intend to establish a broad, strong and stable national government. We are confident in our ability to win the election. But we have several times proposed to form a right-wing government in this Knesset that has a right-wing majority."
    The move to dissolve the Knesset brings an end to the fragile governing alliance that consists of nationalist, centrist, left-wing and Arab parties and is held by little more than shared disdain for Netanyahu. Bennett unseated Israel's longest-serving premier in June of last year after 12 years in power.

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