Benjamin Netanyahu’s hold on power in Tel Aviv suffered two setbacks on Wednesday. Messages from a member of his Likud Party surfaced asserting Netanyahu’s days in office “are numbered.” Additionally, the head of the opposition in Israel, Yair Lapid, demanded the prime minister resign.
Galit Distel Atbaryan, a Likud member of the Knesset, sent private Telegram messages slamming the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “I have a great anger toward Netanyahu, fury that is burning me from inside,” she said. “The days of this government are numbered, that’s completely clear.”
The Times of Israel describes Distel Atbaryan as “a firebrand who was seen as a Netanyahu loyalist.” She was a minister in Netanyahu’s government but resigned in the days following the Hamas attack on southern Israel.
In a second blow to Netanyahu, Lapid demanded his resignation on Israeli Channel 12. “This government isn’t functioning, we need change, Netanyahu cannot continue to be prime minister, we cannot allow ourselves to conduct a prolonged [military] campaign with a prime minister that the public has no faith in.” He continued. “Security-wise and on the society level, we cannot have a premier who has lost the trust of the public.”
After the Hamas attack on southern Israel that killed over 1,200 people, Netanyahu’s popularity among Israelis has plummeted. A poll conducted by Bar Ilan University released this week shows that less than 4 percent of Jewish Israelis trust Netanyahu.
Lapid said he was willing to work with members of Netanyahu’s Likud to oust the leader.
“We will sit [in government] under another candidate from the Likud,” he said. Lapid claimed to have spoken with members of the Likud, and “There are many people there who understand the country is going to a bad place.”
He added, “Netanyahu needs to go now during the fighting.”