Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman stated that action must be taken to ensure that Yesh Atid and Habayit Hayehudi are included in the coalition, before any overtures or deals are made with the religious parties, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Monday.
"They are our natural partners for creating a government," he said.
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"It should be as it was in the 2009 elections, when we wanted to create a coalition of the Likud, Yisrael Beiteuni, Kadima and Labor. This is how we need to proceed this time," Leiberman added.
The former foreign minister, however, leveled criticism at the conduct of Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett in light of the political pact between them, and due to their refusal to enter into coalition negotiations. "They want to create a government within a government," he said.
"Why do we have an agreement with Yair Lapid? Because of the Likud's decision to leave Habayit Hayehudi out of the government," party Chairman Naftali Bennett wrote on his Facebook page on Sunday.
"Were it not for this, there would have been a Livni-Kadima-Shas-Yesh Atid-Likud government, without the religious Zionists. This government would toe-the-line of Livni – giving up Jerusalem and the city of Ariel, and obsessed with the PLO – this is Labor."
A Likud-Beiteinu source retorted: "Habayit Hayehudi was the first to receive an invitation to join the government. At the moment the only thing that is stopping the establishment of a government with a majority for the national camp is the refusal of Habayit Hayehudi."
Moran Azulay contributed to this report
Yuval Karni and Moran Azulay are Ynet and Yedioth Ahronoth correspondents
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