The Likud Party criticized Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Monday, saying he had squandered an opportunity to make Israel’s case during his address to the United Nations General Assembly earlier in the day.

Bennett’s predecessor and Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu “made waves internationally and put Israel’s interests front and center” with his speeches at the United Nations, the Likud said in a statement. Bennett, in contrast, “squandered empty words in front of an empty [UNGA] hall rather than make the most of this important global stage,” the statement said.

Bennett, the statement went on, had spoken at the United Nations of success in combating the coronavirus pandemic, while under his tenure Israel had fallen from being first to last in the world in the fight against the pandemic.

“Under Bennett, the next-to-nothing [COVID-19] morbidity [of] three months ago has reached new highs, and 1,300 people have died an unnecessary death—in a vaccinated country in a vaccinated world,” said the Likud.

“This disaster happened because Bennett was almost two months late bringing in millions of vaccines necessary for the third [vaccine] shot—vaccines that Prime Minister Netanyahu ordered and paid for, vaccines that were waiting in storage in Europe instead of being flown to Israel on time,” the statement said.

Bennett was calling his failure to take action to curb morbidity “leadership,” said the Likud, adding, “What leadership? This is a joke.”

Bennett, the Likud continued, “Talks about the need for unity while setting Israelis against each other. Besides, since when does an Israeli prime minister raise domestic political issues to the top of the agenda on an international stage?”

With regard to Iran, the statement said, Bennett’s words were “hollow.”

“After promising not to wage a global struggle against the nuclear deal and subjecting our [Israel’s] operational activities to coordination with the Americans, Bennett relented on fundamental issues in fighting Iran’s nuclear program—something that Netanyahu never agreed to do. Of this, it is said: empty words and hollow promises. Just as he lied to his constituency,” said the statement.

“Bennett demonstrated today [Monday] how the world sees an inexperienced Israeli politician who has only six seats: much like a tree no one sees falling in a forest—no one has heard and no one cares,” it added.

Religious Zionist Party leader Bezalel Smotrich called Bennett’s address “boring,” saying it was “full of empty words, hollow statements, and meaningless clichés.”

The reason for this, said Smotrich, “is he can’t say anything because nothing can be said. His polarized, hybrid government cannot agree on a policy regarding any of the critical issues.”

Joint Arab List Knesset member Aida Touma-Sliman also criticized the prime minister, saying, “Bennett proved at the United Nations that he and his government are Netanyahu’s successors. The disappearance of the occupation and the existence of the Palestinian people, claims of Israel’s moral superiority, and war-mongering vis-à-vis with Iran—these are the principles that guided Netanyahu’s right-wing government. The direction of the right path will bring peace and security to both peoples. ”

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

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