Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Liberman
Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Liberman
Photo: Amit Shabi
Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Liberman

Liberman: unity, narrow governments off the table

Liberman shuts door on government efforts, says Israel is going to unprecedented third elections in a year, blames stubbornness of both big parties

Sima Kadmon |
Published: 12.05.19 , 09:23
Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Liberman said Wednesday that all efforts to form a government, either a unity government or a narrow right-wing government, have been exhausted and that Israel is going to elections.
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  • "The combination of a narrow government and critical economic and security decisions may cause a rift and greater polarization in the people," said Liberman. "A narrow government is a government of total failure, a government of constant disagreements."
    Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor LibermanYisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Liberman
    Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Liberman
    (Photo: Amit Shabi)
    Liberman then went on to point an accusing finger at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz for their failure to make concessions.
    "During the entire trial period to form a government, Netanyahu and Gantz were too busy playing the blame game," said Liberman. "I tried to pressure them into forming a unity government."
    When Netanyahu had the mandate [to form a government], I held my peace. In the last week, we hinted at joining Netanyahu's right-wing bloc to put pressure on Blue and White, but unfortunately, they both made a strategic decision not to choose unity, and so, both parties are equally responsible for the next elections."
    Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuPrime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Blue and White leader Benny GantzBlue and White leader Benny Gantz
    Blue and White leader Benny Gantz
    (Photo: Amit Shabi)
    On election night, we promised to leave no stone unturned, to take any chance and bring about every thinkable initiative. We've done it. We come with our hands clean. These elections have nothing to do with my, or Yisrael Beiteinu's, efforts to bring unity."
    Everyone is simply awestruck by their polls – Netanyahu believes that he could muster up 61 seats without us next elections. Gantz is certain that he and his party can get 36 seats and win the next elections."
    Personally, it would've been best for me to join a narrow government with Netanyahu. It would have been a 63-seat government, I could've been deputy prime minister and defense minister, get every committee I want and every budget that would serve my party's interests. There is no other party that would make such a decision in complete contradiction to its interests and the good of the State of Israel. We're not all talk."
    Likud and Blue and White traded accusations on Tuesday, after what appeared to have been another unsuccessful meeting between both party leaders aimed to narrow the gaps on a unity government.
    Likud officials said that Netanyahu and Gantz's meeting ended without the parties reaching an understanding because of Blue and White's continuous refusal to accept Likud's "far-reaching concessions".
    "Netanyahu has offered to pass creative legislation to anchor the premiership rotation deal and to prevent any of the parties from breaking it," said the officials. "However, despite far-reaching concessions, Blue and White continue refusing to form a unity government."
    Blue and White hit back at the allegations and said that Netanyahu and Likud have yet to offer a new premiership rotation deal fitting Netanyahu's legal status after he was indicted in three different corruption cases.
    "Netanyahu hasn't brought forth any new proposal fitting his legal situation or at all. During the meeting, he also refused to commit to not seek personal immunity in his corruption cases," said the officials. "We will continue to make an effort to form a government of partnership and unity – words that are probably foreign to Netanyahu."
    First published: 09:23 , 12.05.19
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