Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman ended speculation that he might prefer a
government led by former prime minister Ehud Olmert over current Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu when he told his faction Monday that they would be “a central
part of a nationalist coalition” after the January 22 election.
began his election campaign swinging, criticizing his competition: Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Labor chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich, Yesh Atid head
Yair Lapid and Meretz.
Liberman gave a long list of the accomplishments
of his party and its ministers. He said Yisrael Beytenu had been Netanyahu’s
most loyal coalition partner and set terms for joining his next
“We have to be clear that we will not be a partner in any
government that will conduct negotiations about the Golan Heights,” Liberman
said. “We would not be a partner even if means breaking up the coalition and
sitting in the opposition. Anyone who supported concessions on the Golan can see
today what would have happened had we conceded. For us this is a casus belli,
and we will not give up on it.”
Liberman’s comments were seen as a swipe
at Netanyahu, who, Yediot Aharonot reported on Friday, had been willing to give
up the Golan for peace with Syria in negotiations conducted at the beginning of
In a fierce attack on Yacimovich, Liberman said the Labor Party
head was confused between socialism and communism.
“She speaks not about
Scandinavia but about Castro, Cuba and North Korea,” he said. “She confuses the
Cuban model and the Scandinavian model, not only on the economic issue but also
on the diplomatic issue.”
A Labor spokeswoman responded that Liberman was
late in attacking Yacimovich and that he had merely joined politicians from
across the political spectrum.
“Everyone targets Yacimovich because they
understand that the election’s agenda will strengthen her and the alternative
she provides to Netanyahu’s poor leadership,” the spokeswoman said. “Liberman
and the rest of the politicians will continue to attack and Yacimovich will
continue to get stronger.”
Liberman also attacked Meretz, saying it had
acted as a lobby for the Palestinians inside the Knesset. He said the party
represents the Palestinians to Israel and not the other way around.
Yesh Atid, Liberman said Israel has had enough “fashionable parties” that serve
for one term and then disappear. He cautioned voters against supporting a
Liberman said he would reveal his party’s list of
Knesset candidates on December 1 after its platform was drafted and said there
will be new names on the list.
So far, the only new candidate known is
Yair Shamir, the son of late prime minister Yitzhak Shamir.