by Ido Ben-Porat
Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) has attacked Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) over their support for a Palestinian state and the need for a political process with the Palestinians.
Education Minister warns that he 'will do anything to stop' expanded government from giving up any land to Palestinians.
"We will take down the government over anything that would lead to a division of the Land of Israel and the creation of a Palestinian state. We will fight it," he said during an interview on Meet the Press.
"There will be no Palestinian state here. I will do anything to stop it," he promised. "We are in a government whose basic principles include no Palestinian state. As long as we are here, there will not be a Palestinian state along Highway 6, five minutes from Kfar Saba, and there will be no division of Jerusalem."
The Education Minister then expressed veiled criticism against the Prime Minister and his policies. "It's no secret that there are disagreements. We don't need to give up a single centimeter of land. I don't understand these things." At the same time, he acknowledged that "I have no problem with a regional conference if it considers the broader issues."
As long as the government's initial principles remain in place, Bennett supports expanding the government. "I'm not boycotting the Zionist Union. We need to expand the coalition," he said. "We had a lame duck government and I am ready to bring in any party, as long as the coalition's principles do not change."
He further responded to criticism again[st] the Education Ministry's campaign encouraging high school students to take five units of math in the bagrut leaving [sic] certification. "I agree that math is not the sole issue," he acknowledged, explaining that "Israel suffered a national tragedy over the past decade. Our achievements in science and math have fallen by 40 percent. I will not let that continue and I think that excellence is not a bad word."
The Likud has responded to Bennett's remarks, claiming: "This is just another typical public relations exercise from Bennett's workshop. Bennett knows very well that Prime Minister Netanyahu is firmly against returning to the '67 borders and dividing Jerusalem. Yet he is taking Netanyahu's red lines and presenting them as the Prime Minister's supposed dictates.
This is a false depiction."
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