‘The Blame Is All Mine,’ Admits Israeli PM Bennett

After defection of coalition whip puts his government in danger, Israeli leader promises a more nationalist approach

By Israel Today Staff | | Topics: Bennett
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg/POOL

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett seemingly did the impossible by bringing together far-left, centrist, right-wing and even an Islamic party to form Israel’s current unity government.

But in order to do so, many say he cozied up too closely to those other factions, while neglecting his own right-wing party, Yamina, and its constituency. And now he’s paying the price.

Coalition whip Idit Silman abruptly defected to the opposition last week, and there are rumors other Yamina lawmakers might do the same. In a statement to the media, Silman said she could no longer stomach the erosion of Zionist ideals and values perpetrated by the current government.

See: “Netanyahu was shocked, but I am at peace”

In a meeting with his staff this week, Bennett reportedly acknowledged that his neglect of Yamina and the right-wing voter base in service to holding together his disparate coalition was to blame for the situation.

“There were good achievements but the strategy did not work at the end,” Channel 12 News quoted him as saying. “The responsibility, in the end, is on me. Now we’ll have to think about how to fix it.”

Bennett had notably adopted a more centrist approach in leading the coalition, despite being Israel’s first Orthodox prime minister and a noted champion of the Jewish settlement enterprise. That didn’t sit well with his own party colleagues, especially as the coalition’s left-wing parties continued to stand firm on their ideological positions.

Silman highlighted this phenomenon by pointing to Bennett’s use of the term “West Bank” of late to refer to the biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria.

So, what’s the fix that Bennett has in mind?

According to Channel 12, he intends to take a more nationalist tone going forward. This, of course, will only exacerbate the rifts now showing in the coalition, and could expedite its downfall.

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