Home Rachel Avraham OP-ED: How Naftali Bennett Betrayed and Deceived the Israeli people

OP-ED: How Naftali Bennett Betrayed and Deceived the Israeli people

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.By Rachel Avraham


In 1965, the British-American novelist Taylor Caldwell wrote , “A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself.”

“For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men,” she added. “He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear.”

Caldwell’s timeless quote has special resonance today, when we are discussing the new government led by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. As Ayoob Kara (Likud), who served as Israel’s Communication, Satellite and Cyber Minister, implied in an exclusive interview that Bennett engaged in massive deception and betrayed the Israeli right: “More than 80 percent of Yamina voters were against the party forming a coalition with the left. Bennett said that he would never form a coalition with the left side, and he lied about that”.

“He said that he would not let Lapid be Prime Minister and under the agreement between Yamina and Yesh Atid, he is going to be the Prime Minister,” Kara added. “Bennett said that Netanyahu claimed before the election that he would make Lapid Prime Minister and that he lied. He said then that if Lapid would be Prime Minister, he would not sleep at night. After that, it became clear that Netanyahu was 100 percent correct.”

According to Kara, “He said that he would never sit with an Arab party in the government, and now, for the first time in Israel’s history, an Arab party is included in this coalition government. Bennett said that Mansour Abbas is an Islamist that supports terrorism and the killing of soldiers, yet he embraced Mansour Abbas and Lapid.”

Most of Yamina’s voters are religious and traditional Jews. However, just to be able to form a coalition that would make him the Prime Minister, he abandoned the Haredim and other religious Jewish parties, forming a coalition with other parties that are led by individuals who are not only not religious, but who are anti-religious. Now, thanks to this, pretty soon, the kosher certification may be liberalized, and the delicate status quo that has been in place since Israel’s establishment is now in jeopardy. This will likely increase tensions between the religious and secular in Israel.

Although the Bennett government is trying to champion the fact that Israel’s relationship with Jordan has improved under Bennett’s rule, Kara noted that it has only gotten better, because “to meet the King of Jordan, he paid the price of 50 million meters of water. Netanyahu did not run to do that even before an election”. Thus, in effect, Bennett tied Israel’s hands when it comes to its citizens accessing the nation’s limited water resources, just to score public relations points.

For the Israeli people, this is also a betrayal, as Israel first must ensure that it has enough water for its people. Sharing its limited water resources should only be justifiable if it brings peace. In this instance, all it did was make an existing peace a bit better. For Netanyahu, this was too big of a price to pay for PR points, and it should have been likewise for Bennett.

Meanwhile, while the relationship with Jordan has gotten better under Bennett since he agreed to pay a bribe to the Hashemite kingdom, the relationship with Abu Dhabi has deteriorated because there are some in Bennett’s government who oppose making oil deals with the United Arab Emirates. This is because of environmental concerns, and concerns that the oil deals that were already signed under Netanyahu will have their implementation delayed. According to various media reports, this has adversely affected the relationship between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

Similarly, under the Bennett administration, the relationship between Israel and Poland has also gotten significantly worse. This is primarily due to Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid’s outspoken rhetoric against a new Polish law that seeks to limit compensation to Holocaust victims due to Poland’s belief that “Poland should not pay for Germany’s crimes.”

While Lapid’s rhetoric may be correct, it is not politically wise to throw out a relationship with such an important Eastern European country, whose support could have been helpful in countering Palestinian claims at the UN. While Netanyahu was also not a fan of such a Polish position, he at least knew how to balance defending Holocaust survivors with realpolitik, a skill that Lapid so clearly lacks.

MK Moshe Gafni, head of United Torah Judaism, recently called Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett “a murderer,” blaming him for COVID-19 deaths across Israel: “People spoke out against MK Netanyahu – he brought the vaccines, and we got to zero infections. That is, until the present government came along and we got to almost 2,000 infections per day. I say again that Bennett is to blame.” After all, Bennett was the one who got rid of the green passport requirement and the one who permitted travelers via Ben-Gurion Airport to enter without getting quarantined, before the results of their COVID-19 tests even arrived.

Israeli Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu concurred: “In a couple of weeks, Bennett turned Israel from being one of the countries that is most successfully dealing with the coronavirus to one of the countries that has failed in the world. A huge failure for the Bennett-Lapid-Abbas government.” He said this after it was published that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the US recommended that un-vaccinated individuals avoid unessential travel to Israel.

In an exclusive interview, Israel’s Former Consul General Dr. Yitchak Ben Gad concurred: “When the Likud government left, the corona was under control. Now, we see that the situation is deteriorating. More and more people are getting sick. People feel that the new government is not doing well to cope well with the corona. This is the main issue facing the government.”

According to Kara, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that he could be a consensus leader, yet this did not benefit Israel: “What happened is that the Russians for the first time, after Netanyahu left, began to attack Israeli military planes in Syria, something which did not happen for many years between Netanyahu and Putin.”

Ben Gad agreed with Kara: “When the Likud government was in power, there was an agreement between Israel and Russia that Israel could act in Syria against Iran’s entrancement. The Russians agreed quietly to that situation. Now, we see that this changed. The Russians are limiting, if not stopping, the Israeli military from acting in Syria and that is a serious threat, as Israel’s policy is to never let Iran to have power at its borders”

“We don’t want the Iranians at our border,” he stressed. “But, as the Russians are limiting the Israeli Air Force from acting, that means that it is difficult for Israel to remove Iran from its borders. It seems to me that the Russians do not consider this government to be a friend of theirs. It is a serious threat. It is not good that Israel cannot act freely in Syria against Iran and Hezbollah. This is a new negative development for Israel’s security.”

According to Kara, if the executioner of Tehran had not been  elected President of Iran, this likely would have also led to the US returning to the Iranian nuclear deal: “The former president accepted that Biden wanted to change the agreement with the Iranians, something the new president said would never happen.” According to Ben Gad, “America really wants to go back to the 2015 agreement. Israel had to see to it that if achieved, it would ensure Israel’s security. The government is failing this very severe challenge.” And now, it has been reported that Iran is coming very close to a nuclear weapon and there is no one in power in Israel presently who has the wit needed to confront Biden on this critical matter.

Considering this, it is indisputable that Bennett betrayed the Israeli people and deceived Yamina voters.


Sources:

ANALYSIS: Israel Extremely Worried About Russia and Iran | Israel Today

New budget bill shows coalition launching sweeping reforms despite fragility – The Times of Israel

New budget bill shows coalition launching sweeping reforms despite fragility – The Times of Israel

Haredi Knesset Member Moshe Gafni calls Prime Minister Bennett ‘a murderer’ – Israel National News

COVID-19 in Israel – COVID-19 Very High – Level 4: COVID-19 Very High – Travel Health Notices | Travelers’ Health | CDC


Rachel Avraham is a political analyst working for the Safadi Center for International Diplomacy, Research, Public Relations and Human Rights, which is run by Mendi Safadi, a former Likud Candidate for the Knesset and a former chief of staff of former Israeli Communication Minister Ayoob Kara. Since 2012, she has been working as an Israel-based journalist and writer, covering Iran, Kurdistan, Turkey, Iraq, Syria, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and other developments in the greater Islamic world.

Her articles have appeared in the Washington Times, the Hill, Front Page Magazine, the Daily Wire, the Christian Post, the Baltimore Jewish Times, the Jerusalem Post, Israel Hayom, Ahval and many other publications across the globe. She received her MA in Middle Eastern Studies from Ben-Gurion University. She got her BA in Government and Politics with minors in Jewish Studies and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Maryland at College Park.


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