PM Netanyahu addresses coalition crisis: “I have a clear plan”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the public on Sunday evening in light of calls to disband the government, following Avigdor Liberman’s resignation. He asked ministers to act responsibly in light of recent Hamas attacks, and not to disband the government.

Netanyahu said he understands the public’s criticism of recent events in Gaza, but asserted he has a plan: “I will not say when we will act and how. I have a clear plan. I know what to do and when to do it. And we will do it.”

“I risked my life time after time to safeguard our lives here in the Land of Israel,” he added.

According to sources, Netanyahu will appoint a foreign minister in the coming days, as he is likely to keep the defense minister post for himself.

Finance minister Moshe Kahlon, who heads the centrist Kulanu party, was the first coalition partner to call for an early election after meeting Netanyahu on Thursday. Kahlon’s calls were echoed by Aryeh Deri, head of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party and by members of the right-wing Jewish Home whose head, Naftali Bennett, asked to succeed Liberman as defense minister but was turned down by Netanyahu on Friday.

The Jewish Home accused the government of behaving like a leftist government.

“Unless the defense minister’s portfolio is given to Bennett to rescue Israel from the serious crisis of confidence on security that it is in, there is no point in the existence of a left-wing government. The public is fed up with voting right wing and getting the left,” the party said.

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced his resignation on Wednesday, in protest of the latest ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, criticizing it as “surrender to terrorism”.