After trading electoral punches in the media for a few days, Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett has called for a cessation of hostilities with his once and probably future coalition leader, Binyamin Netanyahu.
“My brothers in Likud, hold your fire,” Bennett wrote in an online posting. “Let’s bring votes from [the left-wing camp].”
“The president has already stated that he will assign the task of forming the next government to the head of the largest parliamentary bloc, as is stipulated by law,” he explained. “I hereby announce that we will support Binyamin Netanyahu for the premiership (as we did the previous time) and he will be the next prime minister. Period.”
Bennett’s appeal for right-wing solidarity came after recent Likud overtures to religious-Zionist voters, part of the Jewish Home constituency.
Meanwhile, Zionist Camp was not holding fire. Retired Major General Amos Yadlin, the alliance’s Defense Minister-designate, took aim at Netanyahu’s strong point, his credentials in defense and security.
“Netanyahu has stopped frightening us. The myth that Netanyahu is Mr. Security is a bluff,” Yadlin declared. “I rely on the objectives that the Prime Minister himself named. If Netanyahu were to sit at home and study his objectives, he would give himself a failing grade,” he was quoted by Arutz Sheva as saying.
The former Military Intelligence chief criticized Netanyahu’s so-called “achievements” in Operation Protective Edge.
“Netanyahu boasted in 2009 that he would be so strong against Hamas, but what were his achievements? We got rockets for 50 days, he released the largest number of terrorists with blood on their hands ever, he freed Sheikh Ahmed Yassin (in 1997), and could not beat Hamas,” Yadlin charged.
“Even Ben Gurion International Airport was closed for the first time ever as a result of fire from a terrorist organization — during Netanyahu’s term.”
He also belittled the prime minister’s Iran policy.
“The Iranians have been a nuclear threshold state for two years, and only need to decide when they would like to drop a bomb. The Prime Minister has not managed to prevent it and instead has cut us off from the United States — the greatest power in the world — who also want to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear weapon capability.”
The repercussions of Netanyahu’s rift with President Obama would affect more than just Iran, Yadlin argued.
The Yadlin salvo came in response to a Likud campaign clip which depicts the Left as allowing Islamic State terrorists to enter Israel. It shows terrorists pulling up next to another car and asking the driver how to get to Yerushalayim: “Turn left,” is the reply. As the terrorists drive away, the slogan “Anyone but Bibi” can be seen on their pickup truck’s bumper with the words, “the Left will surrender to terrorism,” and then bullet holes appear on the screen.
Meretz was not amused. They’re calling it incitement and asked Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein to make Likud stop. In a letter to Weinstein, two Meretz candidates invoked the specter of the Rabin assassination:
“We already have experience with Netanyahu’s inciting statements in demonstrations in the 1990s against [former prime minister Yitzhak] Rabin and last summer during Protective Edge, when the Left and the Arab public were the target,” Mossi Raz, sixth on the Meretz list, and Gaby Lasky, seventh, wrote.