Avigdor Liberman and Benjamin Netanyahu

As unity talks stall, Netanyahu to meet with Liberman

We'll 'see if this is serious,' PM tells Yisrael Beytenu leader as Liberman says his party may present its own coalition plan after talks between Likud and Blue and White collapse again

Benjamin Netanyahu and Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman will meet Thursday morning in Jerusalem as part of the prime minister's efforts to form a coalition government.



"There's no point wasting the country's time," Netanyahu told Liberman in a conversation Wednesday. "We'll meet, see if this is serious or not and based on that make a decision."


Avigdor Liberman and Benjamin Netanyahu  (Photo: EPA)
Avigdor Liberman and Benjamin Netanyahu (Photo: EPA)


The meeting was planned after Likud and Blue and White talks on a potential unity government ended without results.


Neither Netanyahu nor Blue and White leader Benny Gantz, who leads a bloc of center-left parties, have enough Knesset members in their respective blocs to form a majority coalition.


Gantz on Tuesday backed out of planned talks to form a national unity government, saying conditions were not ripe to hold effective negotiations.


Both President Reuven Rivlin and Liberman have been calling for a unity government between Likud and Blue and White and have expressed opposition to a third round of elections within a year.


Liberman said earlier Wednesday that if there is no progress on unity talks before Yom Kippur, his party would present Blue and White and Likud with its own proposal.


"Even if new elections are held, the political map will not change significantly, and therefore an informed solution must be reached, leaving all personal and ego considerations aside," he said.


Netanyahu, who was last week given 28 days by Rivlin to form a government, met Wednesday with the heads of the right-wing factions that form his political bloc in any coalition negotiations.


As the rightist bloc met, Netanyahu's Likud party repeated its previous claim that Gantz's political partner Yair Lapid was scuppering unity talks for his own purposes.


"The ministers had been made aware that the Blue and White negotiating team canceled the meeting because Lapid overpowered Gantz during the holiday, intending to drag the country into another election," said a Likud source.


"Lapid does not want a rotation (of prime ministers) between Netanyahu and Gantz, but only between Gantz and himself.”


Ayelet Shaked arrivng for a meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday morning (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)
Ayelet Shaked arrivng for a meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday morning (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)


Yamina leader Ayelet Shaked said following the meeting that the right-wing bloc remains "hardy like concrete," while the head of the Jewish Home party, Education Minister Rafi Peretz, said the right is “marching together.”


Blue and White, meanwhile placed the blame for the cancellation of the unity talks firmly on Likud.


"This is not a negotiation, it is a deaf discourse and there is no point in continuing as long as the conditions stay the same," the party said.


"Why should we help him take the hearing off the headlines?" said one Blue and White official, referring to Netanyahu’s pre-indictment hearings which kicked-off on Wednesday morning - the time when the planned unity talks were supposed to take place.


פרסום ראשון: 10.02.19, 19:48
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