At a Cabinet meeting Monday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu welcomed new ministers Rafi Peretz and Betzalel Smotrich – and at the same time, the Blue and White party ran its own faction meeting, accusing the prime minister of being “unstable” for appointing the two as ministers.
“I want to congratulate the new ministers,” Netanyahu said at the meeting, referring to Peretz, who is now education minister; Smotrich, appointed transportation minister; and Amir Ohana, who enters the justice minister job. “I hope you all have fruitful, productive terms in office,” Netanyahu said.
In response, Blue and White head Benny Gantz said that Netanyahu “is destroying the Israeli economy, causing a major budget deficit. It’s not enough that Netanyahu is giving out money to his coalition partners, but he is also calling new elections, another huge expense. The whole point is to save Netanyahu from his legal woes. The public is not stupid and they will not pay – it is Netanyahu who will pay at the polls.”
Gantz’s co-leader Yair Lapid said, “Netanyahu was once a stable leader, but no longer is. On Sunday we heard about a pathetic attempt to cancel the elections, that he himself called. Clearly he is panicking, and when Netanyahu panics, he immediately seeks a ‘scheme.’ Likudniks are not radicals, but with Peretz and Smotrich, Netanyahu has brought the party of Meir Kahana into the Education Ministry,” Lapid said.