Will Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu form a right-wing government if he is reelected? Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett is not so sure.
Speaking to a high school group Thursday, Bennett said that it was possible – perhaps very possible – that Netanyahu's first choice would be for a national unity government.
“Before the elections everyone is on the Right,” said Bennett. “They all come to Judea and Samaria, they all say the right things. After the elections, they impose a building freeze or make speeches at Bar Ilan University supporting a Palestinian state,” he charged, referencing a speech Netanyahu himself made after the 2009 elections.
“We are the only party that fully opposes a Palestinian state,” Bennett added.
Several days ago, Netanyahu declared that Likud would definitely not form a government with the left – but would form one with Jewish Home. In a post on his Facebook page, Netanyahu said that the Jewish Home will be a part of his next coalition and called on the public to ensure that the Likud gets enough seats in order to prevent a leftist government.
“I have made clear that I will not form a government with the left-wing parties. There is a huge ideological void between the Likud and Buji, Tzipi and the Labor party’s list of anti-Zionist members,” he said.
“I’ve also announced that the Jewish Home is our natural partner and will be a part of the government I will head, a strong and broad Likud government. But,” Netanyahu continued, “if the Likud will not be big enough – there is no certainty that the formation of the government will be assigned to me. If the Likud will not be big enough, a leftist government may be established. The choice this time is a big Likud or a left-wing government.”
Netanyahu stressed that point again on Wednesday, in a visit to the Samaria town of Eli.
“It's either Likud or the left and Labor, or by whatever name they call themselves now,” he said, referring to Labor-Hatnua's adoption of the term "Zionist camp."
Voters need to be realistic about which right-wing party they vote for, he said. “You have to go with the party that can reach higher,” said Netanyahu. “It's not about strengthening the right-wing bloc, but about the size of the party. That will determine who forms the next government.”
If the Likud does not get enough seats, that privilege will belong to Labor and the left, Netanyahu said. “Then you will get a government that will know no limits to its surrender,” he added.
Bennett wasn't convinced. “I fear that once again I will wait by the phone for Netanyahu to call, as one waits for a date to call. My fear is that, just like last time, when he gave first choice to Tzipi Livni and Hatnua, with their six mandates, the same thing will happen again. Really the choice is not between Netanyahu or Labor, but Bennett and Livni.”