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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

'Apologize or resign'

Prime Minister Netanyahu has told Economics Minister Naftali Bennett to apologize for his comments over Netanyahu's threat to leave revenants in the 'Palestinian Authority' or resign.
Bennett's criticism of Netanyahu's proposal on Sunday to leave Jews in Judea and Samaria under Palestinian Authority (PA) rule reportedly has Netanyahu livid.
In response, sources in Netanyahu's office said "no one will teach Netanyahu what the love of the land of Israel is," and further called Bennett's conduct "impudent." They say his behavior and "irresponsible style won't pass in silence. This behavior of Bennett's harms the interests of the settlements."
The sources threatened that "if (Bennett) won't apologize," he risks the dissolution of the current coalition government. "Netanyahu has enough alternatives. A government without Bennett will continue to concern itself with the security of Israeli citizens just like" the former government.
Knesset Council Chairman MK Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud Beytenu) joined the barrage against Bennett, suggesting that if "Bennett is unable to lie to himself, and can't give the prime minister backing, he should retire from his position."
Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel, who has come to Netanyahu's defense before, is trying to play the peacemaker once again.
Bennett's party colleague Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel, who is generally very understated, acknowledged that that there was currently a political "crisis."

Ariel said that the substantive disagreements that exist between Bennett and his party and Netanyahu do not have to become personal.  "If someone was insulted, I think this is not good, and if it was me I would apologize."

Ariel said that he was working on the issue and encouraging the sides to talk. "Talk generally is good for both sides," he said. He expressed regret that this disagreement was taking place via the microphones.

If I were Bennett, I would be doing two things right now:

1. Making sure that if I leave the government, my entire party goes with me, so that Netanyahu is left with a 54-member (less than a majority) coalition.

Currently, JPost's Lahav Harkov is tweeting that Bennett's party is standing by him.
2. Making sure that if Netanyahu tries to bring in Labor (probably the only option that is outside the coalition right now), it will precipitate enough of a split in the Likud to leave Netanyahu without a majority.

When the polls said on Tuesday that the Likud would get 46 seats if Knesset elections were held today, that was an expression of support for the Right and not for Netanyahu, and most of the people waiting in the wing from the Likud are Feiglin's people and not Netanyahu's. Netanyahu definitely does not have a clear advantage here.

You will note that I did not even discuss the possibility of Yair Lapid sticking to his deal and pulling Yesh Atid out of the government if Bennett pulls out. That won't happen.

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