Despite the fact of dramatic formation of a new government in Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu intends to remain opposition leader, head of Likud Party, and its candidate for prime minister in the next election. He has also vowed to topple-down the newly-formed government and termed the government as “dangerous”.
Mr. Netanyahu has assured, although he is leaving the office of the Prime Minister, he won’t quit politics.
“This is a holiday for the press but a difficult day for millions of citizens of Israel,” he told reporters following his address in the Knesset plenum. “I ask you not to lose your spirits. We will come back”.
In the speech, Netanyahu told his supporters they should keep their heads held high despite losing power.
“We will continue to work together,” he said. “I will lead you in a daily struggle against this dangerous left-wing government to topple it, and with God’s help, it will happen much faster than you think”.
In contrast with the constant heckling during the speech of incoming prime minister Naftali Bennett, MKs in the coalition being formed were completely silent when Netanyahu spoke, making a point of showing him respect. The only MKs who heckled were from the Joint List, until Meretz leader Nitzan Horowitz mentioned the criminal charges against Netanyahu near the end of the address.
Netanyahu said he was speaking for the millions of voters of Likud and its satellite parties, and he cited the accomplishments of his outgoing government, singling out the Abraham Accords.
Mocking Bennett, Netanyahu said after hearing him talk tough about Iran, he was even more worried since “Bennett always does the opposite of what he says.” The new government is unfit to lead the country for even a single day, he said.
“An Israeli prime minister needs to know how to say no to the president of the United States,” Netanyahu said, praising his own speech to Congress against the Iran deal and lamenting that there will be no one left who could stand up for Israel that way.
Had Bennett told Israelis he would form a government with Lapid, he would not have gotten elected at all, Netanyahu said, calling him “fake Right”.
He listed his successes as prime minister, including the transfer of the US Embassy to Jerusalem, the construction of new roads and railways and the improvement to quality of life in the country.
“All of this didn’t happen by chance,” Netanyahu said. “It happened because we ran a smart and focused security policy that made our enemies pay a price”.
The government oversaw “courageous” operations behind enemy lines to keep Israel safe, he said.
The accomplishments turned Israel from a “marginal state” into a leading country, Netanyahu said.
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