Yaalon. Warning
Photo: Ori Porat
Lieberman. Optimistic
Photo: Shai Vaaknin

Yaalon: Lieberman may recommend Livni

Former IDF chief and Likud candidate says Yisrael Beiteinu chairman may tell president Kadima chairwoman should form new government in case of tie in elections. Lieberman states won't rule out sitting in coalition with anyone, predicts his party will grow stronger in 2013 elections

Former IDF Chief of Staff and Likud candidate Moshe Yaalon slammed the Yisrael Beiteinu party on Saturday, saying that its chairman, Avigdor Lieberman, "may recommend to the president that (Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi) Livni should be the one to form the next government" in case of a tie in Tuesday's elections.


Speaking at an event in the central city of Shoham, Yaalon said that "there are those who vote for Lieberman not intending her (Livni) to form the government." He noted that Lieberman was part of the Olmert-led government in the past.


The Likud candidate went on to attack Lieberman's initiative for a loyalty law, stating that "in terms of Israel's Arabs we have a very clear saying, but it must be made from our heads rather than from our stomachs.


"Unfortunately, the slogans we have been hearing recently are directed to the stomach, and when blood flows to the stomach it runs out in the head. This is why we must play by the right rules, rather than reach places the State of Israel does not wish to reach.


"We've confused Israel's Arabs in the past few years. In some cases, we must set the limits in the face of each incident and event," he added.


Yaalon was asked about the possibility of being appointed defense minister in a future Likud-led government, and replied, "I'm not engaging in the distribution of portfolios. First we must win the elections on Tuesday. If we win, we must form a government.


"What is clear to me is that if the Likud wins as I expect it to, and (Likud Chairman Benjamin) Netanyahu forms the government, I'll get a senior position."


Asked who would be the Likud's natural partners in a future collation, Yaalon responded, "Netanyahu has said several times that if he wins the elections he will first of all call all the elements in the national camp, the national Zionist Jews, to join him.


"He has been talking about a unity government, which could include the Labor Party, for instance, hoping that it's indeed a Jewish-Zionist-national movement."


Lieberman: We'll get 30 seats next time

Knesset Member Lieberman, who took part in an event in the central city of Beersheba on Saturday morning, said that his party would receive 30 Knesset seats in the next elections, expected to take place in 2013.


Recent public opinion polls predict that Yisrael Beiteinu will emerge as Israel's third largest party in Tuesday's general elections.


He also stressed that he would not reject sitting in the coalition with any party. "I'm not forcing myself on anyone," he said.


Lieberman also addressed the situation in the Gaza Strip and the ongoing firing of rockets at Israel.


"Hamas cannot sit quietly as long as we don't sit quietly in the Negev. The Hamas government must be brought down. It's willingness to continue must be quenched.


"We need a much more significant operation than Cast Lead. Missiles landed only yesterday, and we're transferring money to Gaza. It's insane. We want to turn this country into a normal one."


Lieberman also made a sarcastic remark about the Shas party, whose spiritual leader attacked him recently. "What angered Rabbi Ovadia Yosef was not civil marriage, but the number of his party's Knesset seats," he said.


Speaking of his relationship with Likud leader Netanyahu, the Yisrael Beiteinu leader said, "I'm his friend, and that makes all the difference. We try not to attack anyone, and we won't get dragged into it with any party."


As for the senior position he might receive if Netanyahu were to form the next government, Lieberman said, "I was not promised a thing. I was surprised to hear that."


According to a poll conducted by the Dahaf Institute and published by the Yedioth Ahronoth daily on Friday, Lieberman is widely supported by new immigrants, with about 55-60% saying they would vote for his party. Ten of the party's 19 Knesset seats – as predicted by the survey – come from new immigrants.


Yael Branovsky contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 02.07.09, 12:36
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