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Internal criticism in Meretz over MK Zoabi’s threat to topple gov’t

CM 09/08/2021

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MK Mossi Raz (Meretz) was interviewed on Monday morning on 103FM. Raz was asked to respond to his party member MK Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi‘s claim on Sunday, that if Israel begins a military campaign Mertez and Ra’am will topple the government.
“She may be speaking in her own name, but I do not accept what she said. We want to strengthen the government, not topple it,” Raz said.
“We obviously want all of Israel’s citizens to be safe, and they will not be threatened,” he added. 
“In general, military decisions are made by the cabinet, and neither I nor MK Rinawie Zoabi have to say in the matter. As a side point, I believe that it is the government’s responsibility to do everything it can to avoid a military conflict, god forbid.”
Raz addressed the option that the government might at some point become embroiled in a military conflict and claimed, “Even though we should avoid military conflict when it is necessary the government must respond. We did this two days ago [in response to Hezbollah rocket attack], and it was a proper response to an unnecessary provocation.”

Raz also addressed the makeup of the coalition and said, “We do not agree on everything. There might be a military operation tomorrow, and some might oppose it. But you don’t topple a government so quickly. We should not threaten the government but strengthen it since the alternative is worse.
“This is my opinion, and I think it is also Meretz’s,” he added. “My friend Esawi Frej [Regional Cooperation Minister] said similar things. I prefer that the country would not need to use force, but if Israel is attacked, it has the legitimacy to respond.”
To Magal and Caspit’s question if rocket attacks condone military responses Raz answered, “This means that Israel is under attack and must do the wisest thing it can, whether diplomatic or military, to defend itself. In my opinion, the response to the rocket attack was balanced.”
“In Lebanon, there are many factions that we are not even aware of,” he added. “In addition, on the Palestinian topic the government is also responding well, but it is obvious that without a diplomatic solution there is no solution at all, and there will be no diplomatic solution in the next four years.    
Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked of Bennett’s Yamina Party said in an interview with 103fm later on Monday that Rinawie Zoabi’s comment was “an idiotic statement that there is no point in delving into.””If there is a security need to embark on an operation or a war, God forbid, in the north, in the south or elsewhere, then we will do it. And if one MK or another decides to overthrow the government – It will fall.”However, we will act according to the security needs of the State of Israel and not according to the statements of one MK or another,” Shaked said.
Rinawie Zoabi claimed in an interview with Kan on Sunday that her party could prevent the government from taking serious military action.
Bennett knows that if the government decides to engage in a military conflict – the coalition will fall because both Meretz and Ra’am will not approve,” she said. “Meretz and Ra’am’s presence in the coalition restrains the sharpness of any military decision.”
This appeared in the coalition agreements, according to Zoabi, citing the agreement that the coalition would only deal with economic or civil issues. 
Rinawie Zoabi claimed that if Netanyahu had been prime minister, Israel’s response would have been stronger.
She concluded: “Bennett understands today that his right-wing voters have left him and will not return, and therefore he needs to understand that he is getting closer to the Left.”
Rinawie Zoabi’s claim caused an uproar in the Knesset.
Bezalel Smotrich (Religious Zionist Party) tweeted the words “extremely dangerous.” He then added another tweet, “Everyone knows that that the people that he (Bennett) surrounds himself within key positions in sensitive decision-making circles have a large influence on his policy. Bennett is purposely pushing away people from the Right and putting people from the Left in sensitive security cabinet positions.”
“When this joins a leftist political circle in the government and cabinet, the direction of the government is clear. It is definitely not 10 degrees to the right. This should be a wake-up call to the blind and innocent people who have believed the illusion of him and his partners being right-wing.”
Shlomo Keri (Likud) wrote: “When the Muslim Brotherhood sets the Israeli government’s agenda (!), along with the anti-Zionists from Meretz and Labor, there is no doubt that Zoabi is correct.”
“This government is dangerous,” he added. “Radical elements have taken control of the ship while its captain is fast asleep. We must wake up before it is too late.”
Otzma Yehudit head Itamar Ben-Gvir also responded: “The MK from Meretz said aloud what we all already know: Naftali Bennett is being held hostage in a coalition of terror supporters who will topple him if he dares to respond to Hezbollah’s rockets. This government is a threat to national security and we must join forces in order to topple it before the residents of Kiryat Shmona and the Galil end up like the residents on the Gaza border.”
The Likud also published a response: “Bennett and Lapid failed not only in dealing with the coronavirus when Bennett held off the delivery of the third vaccine to Israel by seven weeks. They did not only fail with the budget by slapping heavy taxes on the citizens of Israel. They also failed at providing security, and today a member of the coalition spoke the truth. Bennett cannot protect Israel because his government depends on Mansour Abbas and the radical left. We will topple this dangerous government and bring Israel back to a path of success: in corona, in the economy, and in security.”

Source: Jerusalem Post

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