Bennett to Netanyahu: Don’t stop until Hamas pays heavy price – The Jerusalem Post

Former defense minister Naftali Bennett called upon Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday to reject international offers to mediate a ceasefire. Bennett encouraged Netanyahu to take stronger action against Hamas, even though escalation could prevent the Yamina leader from forming a government. “The government should not end the current round in the Gaza Strip until Hamas pays a heavy price,” he said. Bennett also called upon the Public Security Ministry and the police to do more to protect citizens in mixed Jewish-Arab towns suffering from vandalism and violence. “The Likud went from being a ruling party to a party that is failing to run the country and is leading us negligently from blunder to disaster,” Bennett said. “Yamina will give full support to any step to restore security without regard to politics; this is the time to unite and win.” 

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Religious Zionist Party leader Bezalel Smotrich said it was crazy that the escalation did not stop Bennett from negotiating to form a government with “terror supporters” – a reference to the Ra’am (United Arab List) Party led my MK Mansour Abbas.

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid said it was right to continue coalition talks, because the events of the past week proved that Netanyahu needs to be replaced. “I have no intention of stopping the democratic process of forming a new government for [the sake of] Hamas,” Lapid said. “It would be a prize for terror, and the time has come for Israel to stop giving prizes to terror.” Lapid said that what Israel has endured “is a product of Netanyahu’s neglect and lack of vision.” “If an Islamic terrorist organization is not afraid to fire missiles at the towns and communities around Gaza, at Jerusalem and at Tel Aviv – and Arab rioters are not afraid to burn synagogues in Lod – then there is no deterrence and no government that can be trusted,” he said. “That needs to change – and now. “Israel more than ever needs a unity government that will enable us to face the challenges together,” the Yesh Atid head said. Lapid spoke with President Reuven Rivlin Wednesday afternoon about the ongoing security and political situation, updating him on efforts to form a government. At Bennett’s request, Lapid persuaded Abbas to speak favorably about forming a government despite the escalation, in an interview with KAN Radio’s Arabic station. “When the fires are extinguished, there is no option other than returning to political contacts to form a government,” Abbas said. “We have a real opportunity to fill an important role in Israeli politics for our society.”

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Bennett to Netanyahu: Don’t stop until Hamas pays heavy price – The Jerusalem Post

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