Naftali Bennett announces his retirement from politics

June 30, 2022 by Gil Tanenbaum - TPS
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Outgoing Prime Minister of Israel Naftali Bennett addressed the nation Wednesday night on all of the country’s broadcast channels to announce his intention to quit politics as soon as new elections are held.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett  Credit: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO.


Bennett will not seek reelection to the Knesset.

The Knesset is expected to vote to dissolve itself and call for new elections sometime Wednesday night.

In attendance were Bennett’s wife, who cried throughout the speech, and Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, who is now expected to assume the leadership of Bennett’s Yamina Party.

None of the leaders of the coalition parties, not even the soon-to-be interim Prime Minister Yair Lapid, was there.

Naftali Bennett reiterated some of the same themes that he has spoken about in public over the past few days. This included his promise to do all to aid Yair Lapid in leading the country once he becomes the new prime minister.

“I will continue to aid him as alternate premiere as much as needed,” said Bennett. “As I have always served as a soldier, an officer and as your prime minister.”

Bennett declared that the outgoing coalition government succeeded more in one year under his leadership in ways that no government that served even a full term has done.

Of the outgoing coalition government’s achievements that Naftali Bennett declared:
“We brought quiet to the south not seen in years.”
“We overcame two waves of Covid without any closures.”
And Bennett also took credit for Israelis getting back to work with low unemployment rates.

However, the improved economy was expected once the Covid crisis subsided. There was no need for Coronavirus closures under Bennett’s watch because the situation never got bad enough to require one.

As for the quiet in the country’s south, the coalition was formed just after the end of the Guardians of the Wall conflict. After such a direct conflict with Hamas, one year of quiet on the Gaza border is not unprecedented. And several rocket attacks launched at Israel emanated from Gaza in the past year.

Naftali Bennett went on to address what he said was the recurring complaint of Israeli who voted for the parties that ended up in the opposition that their voices were not heard by his government, that they were ignored.

Bennett said, “I was concerned as prime minister for all Israelis regardless of who they voted for.”

He also restated how his government proved that political opposites could work together, saying, “We proved that [political] partnership can be good. We proved that it is possible to honour [political] agreements.”

Bennett concluded his remarks with a call for more political harmony among all Israelis. “Let’s all be good to one another,” he said. “Let’s all listen to one another. Let’s learn to respect instead of hate.”

Finally, Bennett made the obligatory thank yous to his political partners and several others.

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