Weekly Commentary: A Lapid-Bennett Yesh Atid Run to the Right of Netanyahu?
Dr. Aaron Lerner 25 June 2022
PM Naftali Bennett said in an interview broadcast this evening on Channel 11
that his decision regarding his political future will be driven by a desire
to finding a way to move the country forward.
With only months left before elections, should the expected vote go through
this week, Bennett does not have the time to insure that his Yemina party
even makes it into the Knesset, let alone have enough seats that he can play
a key role in the nation.
Bennett may have an alternative: running as number 2 in Yesh Atid slated to
serve as Minister of Defense and with responsibility for communities in
Judea and Samaria under a platform whose main points are:
1. Abolition of government support for self-imposed poverty.
2. Annexation according to the Allon Plan and the adoption of Rabin's vision
(a Palestinian entity less than a state) to ensure Israel's security.
These two points are critical points for the future of the State of Israel
and on which the absolute majority of center-right voters agree.
Abolishing government support for self-imposed poverty is a move to prevent
the economy from deteriorating. The cancellation will cause the vast
majority of members of communities who currently choose to live in poverty
to change their habits as well as the educational characteristics of their
children to deal with the cancellation of support.
Binyamin Netanyahu cannot adopt this program because of his reliance on the
support of the Hareidi parties and his opposition to the idea could send
votes from the Likud to Yesh Atid, and would also take votes from Yisrael
Beiteinu, New Hope, Blue and White and even from Labor and Meretz.
Since Netanyahu’s Bar Ilan speech, Netanyahu has refused to oppose a
Palestinian state. In fact, rather than rule out an INDEPENDENT Palestinian
state he has argued that such terms are bereft of any clear meaning. So an
explicit statement of intent by Yesh Atid according to Rabin's vision,
namely: no to a Palestinian state, yes a Palestinian entity that is less
than a state, would place Yesh Atid to the right of Netanyahu on the
Similarly, a clear statement regarding annexation according to the Allon
Plan would outflank the Likud on the right, since, perhaps with the
exception of some hardcore Netanyahu supporters, no one expects Netanyahu to
annex anything, including those areas identified in the Allon Plan, that
enjoy a broad consensus among the people of Israel.
The combination of Bennett and Yair Lapid has proven itself in the past and
voters know that these are two politicians who work well together. Ensuring
the appointment of Bennett as defense minister and responsible for
communities in Judea and Samaria would assure center-right voters that the
platform would indeed be honored.
Would Washington and Israel's Abraham Accord partners react to such a
development? Sure. But it won't plunge us into a crises as the move would
be recognized as one which may prevent Netanyahu from returning to power.
And with the application of Israeli law to the Allon Plan areas only
requiring a simple majority in a quick cabinet vote, the campaign promise
could be fulfilled while our Arab partners, who have a lot more important
concerns that the Palestinians, protesting for the record and moving on.
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