Netanyahu hosts Yisrael Beytenu defectors

"For him, a word is just a word and zero accomplishments," Netanyahu said.

July 16, 2019 05:27
1 minute read.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hosts Yisrael Beytenu members who shifted to Likud July, 2019

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hosts Yisrael Beytenu members who shifted to Likud July, 2019. (photo credit: LIKUD)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took aim at Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman on Monday, hosting 25 former deputy mayors, branch heads and other key activists from Liberman’s party who have shifted to Likud ahead of the September 17 election.

Netanyahu blamed Liberman for the problems faced by Russian-speaking immigrants to Israel, and promised that his Likud would solve them.

“There are problems that need to be solved and they will not be solved by a sectarian party,” Netanyahu said. “For years we let Liberman deal with the problems of the Russian-speaking sector. Liberman didn’t do anything.”

Netanyahu mocked Liberman for campaigning against the haredim after a career of making political deals with them. He made fun of Liberman’s slogan, “My word is my bond.”

“For him, a word is just a word and zero accomplishments,” the prime minister said.

Netanyahu saved his fiercest criticism for Liberman’s decision to not join the coalition he was building after the indecisive April 9 election. He warned that if Likud does not end up being the largest party, Liberman would facilitate the formation of a left-wing coalition.

“Liberman cheated his voters,” the prime minister said. “He promised them a government led by Netanyahu but did not deliver it. He misled his voters.”

The meeting was attended by Environmental Protection Minister Ze’ev Elkin, as well as current and former deputy mayors from Rishon Lezion and Haifa.

But former Yisrael Beytenu faction chairman Robert Ilatov, who has been wooed by Likud, did not come.

The Likud denied offering appointments to defectors from Yisrael Beytenu. According to one report, Netanyahu offered to name former immigrant absorption minister Sofa Landver ambassador to Russia if she headed the Likud’s campaign.

Yisrael Beytenu responded that Netanyahu should devote the time he invests in attacking their party on filling his roles as prime minister, defense minister and health minister. The party said it is good that Netanyahu at least remembers immigrants three months before elections, and that he is “panicking” because Yisrael Beytenu will prevent him from forming a government with the haredim.

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