Yamina leader Naftali Bennett called upon party leaders on Sunday to make compromises following the Operation Guardian of the Walls and to prevent a fifth election in under two-and-a-half years.
Bennett’s associates declined to say to whom his message was specifically addressed, though a strong possibility is New Hope leader Gideon Sa’ar, who has refused to enter a government in which Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu rotates as prime minister.
“Whoever drags Israel to a fifth election, to more poison and hate, to another year of the state not being able to function, to wasting huge sums of money plays into the hands of those who want to harm us,” Bennett wrote in a long post on social media. “That would be one mistake too many. This is the time for all of us to make an effort. … There remain a number of options for forming a government, if we just rescind our boycotts and understand the importance of the moment.”
A source close to Sa’ar said he was aware that he was the intended target of the message but that he would not respond.
Bennett did not reveal which other options he referred to. He said the war with Hamas proved that neither Netanyahu nor Left was the enemy of Israel.
Most of Bennett’s message was an attack on Netanyahu’s handling of the war on matters of security and public diplomacy. He said the prime minister’s decisions were tainted by personal and political considerations and “a smoke screen of worshiping the leader” and that Netanyahu had made poor decisions and appointments.
“I don’t remember a time of such weakness, a lack of functioning and national embarrassment,” Bennett wrote. “We should not be surprised: The writing was on the wall.”
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid’s mandate to form a government ends on June 2. If he fails to form a government by then, there will be 21 days in which any MK can draft the support of 61 MKs to build a coalition. If no one succeeds, Israel will have another, unprecedented, fifth round of election.