Despite posting on his Twitter account, “To all those asking: ‘to sacrifice yourself’ means to work hard for the goal,” Bennett was unable to preempt the political backlash as Zionist Union Chairman Isaac Herzog accused him of leading Israel “to the brink of civil war.”
The opposition labeled the Jewish Home party leader as “messianic and dangerous.” Herzog went on to say not only that Bennett’s remarks risked sparking a civil war, but that they could also lead to “a return to the 1967 lines, to a loss of the main (settlement) blocs, to the division of Jerusalem, and to international isolation, and it will not be the first temple that extremists such as this destroy.”
MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Union) sought to ridicule Bennett, pointing to what many have highlighted the demographic inconsistencies that an Israeli annexation of the West Bank would create. “Bennett wants to annex the whole of Judea and Samaria when 2.5 million Palestinians live there. The meaning of annexation is an Arab majority.”
“If Bennett wants people to give their lives for this dream, I'd like to tell him that people do give their lives for Israel to exist as a Jewish and democratic state, which is exactly why we must fight this dream of Bennett's,” said Livni.
MK Yoel Hasson (Zionist Union) also responded to Bennett's words, calling him a fascist and describing him as “the real danger to the State of Israel. He is a minority within a minority that has managed to masquerade itself as the majority. The Judaism that he is talking about isn't our Judaism. He's a weird extremist and a suicidal nationalist who is willing to throw us all into the sea, since he values the land more than life itself.”
MK and Meretz Chairperson Ilan Gilon went on an attack of his own in response to Bennett's remarks. “This morning, we awoke to realize that the Education Ministry isn't led by a thoughtful and serious minister, but by a nationalist extremist who doesn't think twice about inciting and calling for a Jewish Jihad and shahids over the annexation of the West Bank. What began with five units of math ended with five levels of giving one's life. Bennett's words show how bewildered his party, Bayit Yehudi, really is, and that behind the smiles and start-ups lurk the most messianic and extremist people in Israeli politics.”