Prime Minister Naftali Bennett offered his family a new defense for taking an overseas vacation in December, just days after begging Israelis not to travel abroad over concerns over the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
In a clip from an interview that aired Monday, Bennett cited “swearing” on social media as the reason his wife Gilat wanted to take their kids on vacation.
“The children are exposed to everything. They’re browsing Instagram and TikTok and she just wanted to disconnect,” he told Channel 12 news.
Bennett, who was heavily criticized during the trip at the time, said he was not trying to persuade his wife to go.
‘I’m not her boss. We’re a couple,” he said.
The prime minister also denied that the incident caused tension at home.
“What bothers me the most is that this has created a very, very distorted image of Gilat,” he said.
Bennett previously defended his family during the trip, which took place two months ago after Israel sealed its borders to foreigners in an effort to limit the spread of Omicron in the country. He insisted that they be transparent about their plans from the start and that his wife and children be quarantined upon their return, as was required of all Israelis.
In another short excerpt from the interview, which will air in full on Tuesday, Bennett was asked if there are any friendships in Israeli politics, and if he considers Foreign Minister Yair Lapid a friend.
“Yair Lapid is a man, just a man,” he said.
When asked if he would hand over the premiership to Lapid in September 2023 under their coalition deal, Bennett replied: “As long as it depends on me, yes.”
“I have given him my word, he has honored his word and I will honor mine,” he said. “I don’t know how to control all the other players.”
Bennett and Lapid lead a narrow coalition of parties spanning the political spectrum, which was formed in June and ousted former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after more than 12 consecutive years in power.