After days of media reports about negotiations between Yamina chief Naftali Bennett and Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, Bennett, who was thought ready to announce an agreement on Sunday evening, instead said at a press conference only that he is working toward a deal with Lapid.
Bennett asserted that any talk of a potential Likud-led government was “a complete lie,” and that the only way to avert another round of elections would be to join the Lapid-led “change” bloc.
“I will work with all my might to form a national unity government with my friend, Yair Lapid,” Bennett pledged.
“For the past two-and-a-half years the State of Israel has been in a tailspin. One election after another – for four election cycles we’ve watched our country hurt itself, weaken itself, and diminish its ability to function.
“Government ministers squabble while failing to manage anything. There are riots and synagogues are burned in Lod and Akko, a fatal neglect and abandonment of responsibility in the Meron disaster.”
He warned that a fifth round of elections in less than two and a half years would be a disaster for the country, and urged all parties to act responsibly and “stop the craziness.”
Despite earlier reports that members of the right-wing Yamina had decided to follow Bennett, Channel 12 news in the evening quoted “right-wing sources” as saying that Yamina No. 2 Ayelet Shaked was still undecided about the move.
In response to Bennett’s speech, Likud lashed out at Bennett
“We said then and it’s been proved today: You vote for Bennett, you get Lapid. The public won’t forget,” coalition whip Likud MK Miki Zohar, wrote on Twitter.
Updated Sunday, May 30, 2021 at 2:19 pm .