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April 2, 2021 10:41 am

Netanyahu Meets Bennett in an Attempt to Form Right-Wing Government

avatar by i24 News

Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett looks at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a visit to an Israeli army base in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, November 24, 2019. Atef Safadi/Pool via REUTERS

i24 News – Israel’s interim Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Friday afternoon with Yamina party’s chairman for coalition talks in an attempt to sway Naftali Bennett to join his government, Hebrew media reported.

According to daily Yedioth Ahronoth, Likud members are “raging” against Netanyahu for allegedly offering Bennett top positions within the party.

“It’s a disgraceful proposal that indicates a loss of nerves. It’s putting the Likud movement up for sale in exchange for Netanyahu’s seat,” an unnamed top Likud official was quoted as saying.

However, another senior faction member dismissed the report, stressing that Netanyahu’s offer “died before it was born” as Bennett “completely” ruled it out.

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On Thursday, Mansour Abbas, leader of the Islamist Ra’am party, delivered a speech announcing he will make a decision on which candidate to support for the prime minister post in the coming days.

If Abbas would support Netanyahu for the role — as some reports suggest he would — it could put Netanyahu in a tough negotiating position.

Outlet Kipa reported that following the Islamist leader’s remarks, Religious Zionism chief and lawmaker Bezalel Smotrich refused to speak to the incumbent Israeli premier as he was “outraged” over Netanyahu’s alleged legitimization of Ra’am.

In addition, other reports suggested that Opposition Leader Yair Lapid agreed to a premiership rotation deal, conceding the first term to Bennett. Netanyahu would find it difficult to top this offer.

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