The leader of the right-wing Yamina party, Naftali Bennett, spoke about his positions and expected decisions regarding a number of the most prominent files and challenges facing the Israeli government, while the Likud party complained about what it described as double standards on the Facebook and Twitter platforms.
The war on Gaza and Lebanon
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In his interview with Israel’s Channel 12, Bennett admitted that launching the war would lead to the overthrow of the government, with the United Arab List party withdrawing its support for it.
He said: If there is a need for military action in Gaza or in Lebanon, what should we do? We will do it, there are no political restrictions, and at the end of the war itself, if there is a coalition (government) so be it, if not, we will go to the polls, everything is fine.
Lapid was able to form the expected government after obtaining the support of the United Arab List party led by Abbas Mansour, in exchange for an agreement to improve the living conditions of Arabs in Israel.
If the new Israeli government obtains the confidence of the Knesset (Parliament), Bennett, 49, will become its president until September 2023, to be followed by Yair Lapid as prime minister.
Bennett suggested that the new government will be subject to pressure from the US administration, regarding settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.
He said: Certainly there are differences on the issue of settlement, so we will try to identify and manage this issue, but there are many common things.
Bennett is famous for supporting Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories.
The conflict with the Palestinians
On his view of resolving the conflict with the Palestinians, Bennett said that the national conflict with them is not on the ground. The Palestinians do not recognize our presence here, and it is likely that this will accompany us for some time.
Bennett is known for his strong opposition to the establishment of a Palestinian state, and his repeated calls for Israel to annex Area C, which constitutes 60% of the West Bank.
On July 30, 2013, Bennett told the Israeli newspaper the Jerusalem Post: I’ve killed many Arabs in my life, and there’s no problem with that.
Pointing out that parties in his government support a political solution to the conflict with the Palestinians, Bennett continued: “It is clear that this will be presented in the cabinet, and we have to coexist.”
He pointed out that his vision for resolving the conflict is to improve the living conditions of the Palestinians, not to give them an independent state.
He said: My vision in this context is to reduce conflict wherever possible, more crossings, more quality of life, more business, more industry, we will do it.
Iran and the nuclear deal
In response to a question about the US position on Iran, he said: First and foremost, the compass is Israel’s security. Israel’s security is more important than what they will say about us in the world. However, the relationship with the United States of America, including with the administration and President Joe Biden, is an essential strategic partnership.
The current caretaker prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, rejects Washington’s return to the nuclear agreement with Iran, from which former US President Donald Trump withdrew.
The conflict with Netanyahu
And regarding the expected government of change, Bennett expressed his hope that a vote of confidence would take place within 10 days.
“I hope and believe that within 10 days a new government will be formed that will put an end to a very bad period for the State of Israel, a period of quarrels, 4 elections and chaos, and we will do this to get the country back on track,” he said.
But he pointed to the pressure that Netanyahu and his Likud party are putting on lawmakers not to vote for the government.
He said: It will be difficult in these ten days, very heavy pressures on every Knesset member, threats and proposals, here and there.
Israeli observers expected that Netanyahu would exert great pressure on the parties and representatives in the Knesset, in an attempt to thwart the formation of the next government that might end his political future.
I will be the most hated person in Israel
Bennett acknowledged that his entry into government angered many of his far-right voters.
He said: I know that many of my constituents are in pain, and their pain is real, and I accept criticism with understanding, they are angry and hurt, and some of them are very happy, the majority are confused and worried.
He pointed out that before taking the decision to head the government, he told his sons that he was going to take a step “that will make me the most hated person in the State of Israel, and very unpopular. I do it for my country.”
Likud criticizes ban on right-wing accounts on Facebook and Twitter
In the same context, the right-wing Likud party said – today, Friday – that the Facebook and Twitter platforms banned the accounts of right-wing activists, after they called for demonstrations against the Israeli government of change.
“Twitter and Facebook have suspended the accounts of right-wing activists for promoting protests outside the homes of Knesset members who plan to join the dangerous leftist government that is being formed,” the Netanyahu-led party said in tweets.
He added that Twitter and Facebook allege that they suspended the users because their posts included the personal addresses of the homes of Knesset members, which are the sites of public protests.
However, at the same time, Twitter and Facebook allow left-wing activists to promote counter-protests in the homes of the same MKs, Likud continues, citing the same addresses for which right-wing activists’ accounts have been suspended.
“This is a case of political censorship on the right,” he added, calling on Jack Dorsey (founder of Twitter) and Mark Zuckerberg (founder of Facebook) to “stop these double standards, and allow freedom of expression for everyone.”
In this regard, Yair Netanyahu, the prime minister’s son, tweeted: “A widespread phenomenon, Facebook prevents the organization of demonstrations against the left-wing government.”
And the “Times of Israel” news website said – Thursday evening – that Facebook banned Yair Netanyahu’s account for 24 hours, due to his calls for demonstrations in front of deputies from the right-wing parties joining the new government.
On Thursday, Netanyahu called on lawmakers in the right-wing parties not to give confidence to the rotation government headed by the leader of the right-wing “Yamuna” party, Naftali Bennett, and the leader of the centrist “There is a Future” party, Yair Lapid.
Right-wing activists and settlement leaders organize demonstrations in front of the homes of representatives in the right-wing parties affiliated with the government.
The Knesset must still give confidence to the new government, which includes parties from the right, center and left, in addition to the United Arab List headed by Mansour Abbas.
The date of the Knesset’s vote of confidence in the government has not yet been set, while the Likud party, through its leader, Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin, is trying to delay the vote.