Bennett: It sounds like fiction, but I would like a coalition with Ben Gvir, Mansour Abbas
Bennett: There should have been less Zelensky, more Silman. Less MBZ, more Orbach
Also in their interview, Channel 12’s Dana Weiss shows Prime Minister Naftali Bennett a clip on his phone of Yamina MK Idit Silman, the former coalition whip who left his government, telling Likud MK Yariv Levin then let them go down to the Knesset: “I was fine until the end. »
Asked about the scene, which appears to amount to Silman seeking praise from the Likud MK for helping Netanyahu and the opposition oust his own party’s government and prime minister, Bennett looks sad and makes a pause.
“I don’t have much to say,” he said afterwards. “It is a painful image. It’s not his fault. It’s my fault. They killed her. The machine people Bibi and Smotrich turned her into a liar and a cheat and a fantasy…and I was busy with Iran.
In retrospect, he says, he should have spent more time with Silman and other Yamina lawmakers such as Nir Orbach, and been more supportive.
“[Even as a prime minister] you have to spend 30-40% of your time on politics,” he says. “Less Zelensky, more Silman. Fewer MBZs [the UAE’s Mohamed bin Zayed] and more Nir Orbach.
Having partnered with left-wing and Arab parties in the outgoing coalition, Bennett acknowledges that he would not be welcome these days in settlements such as Beit El, Ofra or Kiryat Arba, some of whose residents voted for his right Yamina and many of whom are furious with him for his political choices.
“Many of them have gone through a year where they have felt anxiety, anger and hurt. They feel like the country has been taken away from them. safety; we held the [Jerusalem Day] march of the flag; we continued to build houses in the colonies, even more than in the past. But that was their feeling.
Weiss reminds him that he had promised not to associate himself with Ra’am, nor to sit under Lapid, to whom he is about to transfer the premiership, and that they feel that cheated them.
In time, he replies, his coalition will be considered to have overseen “a very successful year”.
When you took office, Weiss says, the Netanyahu-led opposition was in much weaker shape, and the religious Zionist Ben Gvir-Smotrich party needed Netanyahu’s help to even get into the Knesset. Now the Netanyahu-led bloc has nearly a majority in the Knesset, and Religious Zionism is nearly 10 seats away, according to polls. Perhaps, she asks, does this prove that you have not succeeded?
“It’s certainly a reaction to the government, and the despicable campaign that persuaded many that we were strengthening Hamas, when we were doing the opposite,” Bennett said. He adds that his government has sent Tsahal to fight against terrorism every night. “We kill the terrorists in their homes.”
He protests that he was accused of allowing terrorists to kill children of Israelis. “Netanyahu has never been accused of this… It is a terrible thing, which must be uprooted.
He says what he’s doing now is finalizing a case for Yair Lapid, so that when Lapid takes over as prime minister in a few days, he’ll be as prepared as possible. “Because it’s the hardest job in the universe.”
Bennett says he has changed a lot since his year in office. “I will not demonize anyone… Mansour Abbas is not a supporter of terrorism”, he underlines, countering the attacks of the opposition against the leader Ra’am.
He promises: ‘You won’t see me so quickly signing public pledges’, as he did ahead of last year’s election vowing not to associate with Ra’am or sit in a Lapid coalition . “That’s not the way.”
“Today, I’m someone who wants to believe in the good of everyone and to unify,” says Bennett. “Together, together, together. How? It is complicated.
So is this a farewell interview? “I haven’t decided,” he said. It will depend on what is good for Israel. A lot of people tell him to keep going. “At home, less,” he said with a contrite smile.
“I would like to come back,” he adds. “I think I was a prime minister trying to do good for his people and his country. I think I succeeded. The Holy One, blessed be he, and the people of Israel will decide.