Yamina’s chief to challenge Netanyahu in upcoming election

December 25, 2020 by  
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Yamina Party leader Naftali Bennett on Wednesday officially announced his candidacy for the premiership in Israel’s upcoming election, saying Israel is “in need of a new leadership.”

Former Israeli Defence Minister Naftali Bennett attends the launch of the Yamina Party campaign, on Feb. 12, 2020. Photo by Tomer Neuberg/Flash90.

“[Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu has accomplishments, but when we needed him the most, he wasn’t there for us,” said Bennett. Israel owed him thanks for his years of service, said Bennett, “but we must move on.”

“I stand before you to announce that I am running for the position of prime minister in order to finally bring about a change so that Israel will have a leadership that takes the citizens into consideration, not itself,” said Bennett.

“When I was defence minister, I did everything in my power to protect you, your health and your livelihood. When the pandemic broke out, I put everything aside. At the end of the first lockdown, I submitted a plan to prevent all future lockdowns, that are so destructive, but Netanyahu rejected it,” he added.

“The government we set up will be task-oriented. We will focus on curbing the coronavirus, restoring livelihoods and uniting the people. I will invite into our government all those parties that want a Jewish and democratic state of Israel, who are willing to put aside their disputes for the time being in order to rescue Israel from the current crisis,” he said.

The Likud Party called Bennett’s television address “confusing and tedious.” Netanyahu, the party said, is leading the world’s fastest COVID-19 vaccination campaign and is determined that Israel will be the first country to emerge from the pandemic.

Bennett’s announcement comes a day after the 23rd Knesset dissolved after the government failed to pass the state budget, sending the country to its fourth general election in two years. 

Report by Yehuda Shlezinger

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

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