Speaking Monday at a conference in Jerusalem, Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett launched a fierce rebuttal of Finance Minister Yair Lapid's blame-game over Israel's housing crisis, which looks set to continue in light of an upcoming report on the issue by the State Comptroller.
"The State Comptroller's report on housing failures in the past few years will come out soon. I call on him to examine the biggest failure of all – in the last two years the State of Israel has been held hostage to the whims of Finance Minister Yair Lapid, like the 0% VAT law which froze the housing market, just as Housing Minister Uri Ariel was trying to build new homes all over the country."
Bennett then criticized the Yesh Atid Chairman for claiming that things hadn't been accomplished in the previous Knesset, listing some of the achievements of the Economy Ministry.
"While Lapid was waving the 0% VAT, we broke the agricultural cartel. While he was waving 0% VAT, we disassembled the cement monopoly. While he was waving 0% VAT, we canceled levies. While he was waving 0% VAT, we spread Tnuva's dairy quota to smaller competitors. Enough already with these slogans! The time has come, not for slogans, but for actions!"
The Jewish Home Chairman then addressed the formation of a coalition after March 17 elections, as rumors swirl that Netanyahu plans to form a government together with the left-wing Labor party, leaving Jewish Home in the opposition.
"The elections are between a left-wing Netanyahu government and a right-wing Netanyahu government," Bennett argued, signaling his belief that incumbent Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will beat-out Labor to retain his position.
"The last two elections show us that Likud immediately goes and a closes a deal with the Left. it happened in 2009, when National Union was excluded, despite promises to the contrary, and (former Labor leader) Ehud Barak was given an influential role in the government."
"Shortly afterwards," Bennett continued, "Netanyahu stood at Bar-Ilan University and declared a Palestinian state, thereby freezing construction in Judea and Samaria for ten months total. They told us Right, and we got Left."
The same thing happened in 2013, Bennett noted. "Before elections, Likud visited over the Green Line [1949 Armistice lines], but a minute after the elections, they excluded Jewish Home and closed a deal with Tzipi Livni. They gave her responsibility for negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, but even worse the justice portfolio."
Bennett also called out boycotters of Israel in his speech.
"Whoever boycotts Israel won't be able to function because his cellular chip won't work. He won't be able to get to work because his Waze won't work. On the way he'll have a heart attack because his stent won't work. He won't be able to eat fruits and vegetables, because his vegetables are watered by irrigation drip."