Sa'ar lashes out at right-wing rival Bennett as Israel election campaign draws to a close

Sa'ar lashes out at right-wing rival Bennett as Israel election campaign draws to a close
Gideon Sa’ar has accused Naftali Bennett of forming an alliance with Benjamin Netanyahu, on the final day of campaigning for the Israeli elections.
3 min read
22 March, 2021
Gideon Sa'ar has promised not to join a government led by Yair Lapid [Getty]

Israel's New Hope leader Gideon Sa'ar hit out at Yamina chairman Naftali Bennett on Twitter on Monday - the final day of the campaigning for the 2021 general election.

It comes after Bennett released an official document ruling out any prospect of Yamina joining a government led by Yair Lapid's centrist Yesh Atid party.

The announcement comes after an agreement between right-wingers Sa'ar and Bennett for both parties to not join the opposition.

Sa'ar was reportedly angered by the public statement, which he views as a sign of an alliance between Bennett and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Sa'ar broke away from Netanyahu's Likud party earlier this year to form New Hope, once seen as the main right-wing competitor to the prime minister before it plunged in the polls.

"It is now completely clear: a few metres before the finish line, Bennett collapsed straight into Netanyahu's arms. And further spiced up the collapse in a day of lies and spins from the house of the creator of his master," wrote Saar on Twitter.

"Failed in leadership. Failed to stand under pressure. Only great New Hope - will bring change and replace Netanyahu," he continued.

Bennett had previously mocked Netanyahu for suggesting the two parties sign a letter rejecting the prospect of a joining Lapid-led government, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Sa'ar is further embarrassed by the release of a "fake poll" by Yamina, which suggested the New Hope party would not secure the required votes to cross the electoral threshold, the Israeli daily added.

Responding to Sa'ar criticism, associates of Bennett said the only important part of the letter was the Yamina chairman's promise not to form a government using the votes of the United Arab List party, led by Mansour Abbas. 

"I do not want to lambast a person when his down. We will have to work together. I don't wish to go to any personal areas," Bennett told Ynet.

He went on to stress that his only concern is ousting Netanyahu, but added that it will be the public who decides this. 

Lapid - the leading opposition party in the polls - brushed off Bennett's letter, claiming that they were not concerned. 

"There is a difference between Bennett on TV and radio and Bennett in private," Lapid told state broadcaster KAN Radio

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Likud, headed by Benjamin Netanyahu, also released a statement regarding the letter. 

"Bennett continues to avoid promising what we have been asking him for weeks. He needs to rule out any government in which Lapid will take part. Whoever votes Likud will get Bennett in a stable, right-wing government. Whoever votes Bennett will get Bennett in a government with Lapid," said the statement. 

Israelis will head to the polls on Tuesday - the fourth election in two years. 

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