Bennett Says He Would Back Netanyahu-Led Gov’t

YERUSHALAYIM (Reuters) -
Head of the Yamina party Naftali Bennett arrives for a meeting with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Thursday. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Naftali Bennett, the leader of the Yamina party, said on Monday he would back a government led by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, potentially nudging the incumbent towards being able to build a coalition after last month’s inconclusive election.

Netanyahu’s Likud party “can count on the fingers of the Yamina faction for the formation of a right-wing government,” Bennett told reporters.

But even Yamina’s seven seats would leave a Netanyahu-led bloc of right-wing and Jewish religious parties with only 59 seats, two short of a governing majority.

The United Arab List (Ra’am), which won four seats, could emerge as a kingmaker. But it has given no public commitment to support Netanyahu, who courted the party’s leader during the campaign.

In his remarks on Monday, Bennett also appeared to leave open the option of joining an anti-Netanyahu coalition – though this too falls short of a majority – if he failed to form a government.

“Whoever works to the end of forming a stable government will find that I am an energetic and creative ally,” Bennett said. “Whoever works to pave the way to a fifth election will find me and us fighting them with all of our might.”