Either Economy Minister Naftali Bennett apologizes for slamming Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in recent days for raising the idea that Jews could live in settlements under Palestinian sovereignty, or he is “endangering the coalition,” sources in the Prime Minister’s Office said Wednesday morning.
“Bennett was given a message that he needs to apologize clearly, otherwise there will be a price,” the sources said, not hiding the fact that Bennett’s comments, including a fiery and feisty speech Tuesday night, has triggered a coalition crisis.
During that speech Bennett harshly denounced the idea of leaving Jews under Palestinian sovereignty, saying they would be killed. “Our forefathers and the descendants of our descendants will not forgive an Israeli leader who gives up our land and divides our capital,” he declared.
The sources close to Netanyahu said that “no one will teach Netanyahu what is the love of Israel, or what is necessary for Israel’s security.” The sources said that with all of Bennett’s criticism, it was not clear why he was “sticking to his government seat.”
“His chutzpah and his irresponsible style will not pass quietly,” the sources added. They said that Bennett was also harming the interests of the settlements, and that Netanyahu had other coalition alternatives.
Even without Bennett in the government, the sources said, Netanyahu will continue to look after the interests of the settlements and the security of the country’s citizens.
Bennett’s party colleague Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel, who is generally very understated, acknowledged that that there was currently a political “crisis.”
Ariel said that the substantive disagreements that exist between Bennett and his party and Netanyahu do not have to become personal. “If someone was insulted, I think this is not good, and if it was me I would apologize.”
Ariel said that he was working on the issue and encouraging the sides to talk. “Talk generally is good for both sides,” he said. He expressed regret that this disagreement was taking place via the microphones.
View original Jerusalem Post publication at: http://www.jpost.com/Diplomacy-and-Politics/PMO-sources-Bennett-needs-to-apologize-or-leave-the-government-339708