Naftali Bennet Incites Ire Online With Tweet Saying He's Working 'for the Sake of Israeli Citizens'
08:18 GMT 24.05.2022 (Updated: 17:26 GMT 15.01.2023)
The rating of the current coalition has never been strong, but a recent poll has revealed that if elections were held today, it would receive 53 out of 120 seats in the Israeli parliament. This is eight spots less than what the bloc obtained in the fourth round of national polls, held in March 2021.
After passing the state budget for 2021 and 2022, Israel's government is set to convene on 16 June to discuss a preliminary outline of the draft budget for 2023 that's expected to hit the desks of parliamentarians in July.
The goal of the government is to pass the budget in the second and third readings by 21 September; a failure to do so would trigger a fifth round of elections. Members of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s ruling coalition have repeatedly said they would prefer to avoid this scenario at all costs. Backing words with actions, the PM posted a photo on his official Twitter account, saying that he and his team, comprising of Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, were working on the budget "for the sake of Israeli citizens".
Many Israelis met Bennett’s announcement with anger, criticizing the government in the comments section.
"You are mainly [working on] tricking your nation and on passing a budget for [Knesset Arab MP] Mansour Abbas", read one comment.
Another one added: "...you are a servant of the Muslim Brotherhood. When will you look your children in the eye? When will you release [us all] from your presence?"
In Israel, the conservative circles are still struggling to come to terms with Bennett’s decision to form a coalition government that's backed by Raam, an Islamic party believed to have ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.
For many, that partnership was forged only to keep former PM Benjamin Netanyahu away from the Prime Minister's seat. The general belief is that Bennett was prepared to pay a high price to maintain that status quo.
Last June, when the coalition government was formed, it was reported that Abbas' Raam managed to get over $10 billion from the government for the needs of the Israeli Arab and Bedouin population -- a sector that has been underfunded for years.
More recently, it was reported by Israel's Channel 10 that another political faction, the Joint Arab List, would receive around $59 million
for the sake of improving the infrastructure in Arab communities. Additional millions were promised to an Arab member of Meretz, Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi, in exchange for not shaking the boat.
The needs of the general public, however, have been largely neglected, believe some Israeli tweeps.
"Instead of pretending to work on a budget, come up with a plan on how to eliminate the threat of Hamas, [its chief] Sinwar and all the other terrorists. You are such clowns."
Since March, Israel has been witnessing a spike in terror activity. In less than two months, Arab and Palestinian terrorists have taken the lives of 19 civilians, but the Bennett government, which relies on Arab legislators for its parliamentary majority, has been struggling to cope with that threat. The general feeling among the public is that the weak coalition will not be able to thwart any future attacks.
However, the terror threat is not the only concern among Israelis. Another major issue is the high costs of living and the absence of funds for the social needs of the public.
"Stop playing with our minds. Prices have almost doubled. You are detached, I am afraid," wrote one Twitter user.
"The three fat ones sit and think about how to take more money out of the citizen's pocket. You promised Singapore and in the end we will finish with Cambodia," added another.
That disdain for the government is also seen in polls. A recent one -- conducted by one of Israel's radio stations - revealed that if elections were held today, the current coalition would only get 53 out of 120 seats parliament
. The opposition, on the other hand, is only getting stronger, waiting for a moment to make a come-back.