Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman at a press conference.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman deflected charges from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday that he is preventing a right-wing coalition from being formed by not advancing coalition talks.
Netanyahu convened all potential coalition partners for an emergency meeting on Thursday night but Liberman refuse to attend. At the meeting, it become apparent that Netanyahu was seeking a coalition of 60 MKs without Yisrael Beiteinu.
Liberman said that he had run coalition talks in the past both for Likud and as the head of his current party and he has never before seen coalition talks run so negligently.
"This is the price of arrogance," Liberman said. "If we have to go to another election, it will be only because of the Likud conducting failed negotiations. It is no coincidence that this is the first time of founding of state that someone who won a convincing victory is not able to form a government."
Liberman also made it clear that if the draft law would go through as it was originally written up, Yisrael Beyeteinu would join the coalition.
"The draft law has a unfortunately, has become a symbol of religion and state," he said. "My advice to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is to put pressure on the ultra-Orthodox parties to agree to the original conclusion from the previous term and complete the second and third readings of the draft law in the same way as it did was done on first reading... the only alternative if the law is not approved is repeat elections."
In a meeting with theKeren Kayemeth LeIsrael on Friday, Liberman said that "there has never been a leader who has given more to the Haredim then Netanyahu, since the days of the Second Temple."
He also revealed that the Likud has spoken to him about forming a "different kind of government," a reference to a national unity government with Blue and White.
Ilanit Chernick contributed to this report.
The Likud reacted to Liberman by saying that "the only overture of the party to him was and remains a right-wing government under Netanyahu."
UTJ responded to Liberman that “everyone with a brain understands that Liberman does not want to take part in Netanyahu’s government, and that is why he left it several months ago.
UTJ leaders Yaakov Litzman and Moshe Gafni said in a statement that Liberman was using the conscription bill as an excuse to not join and to prevent a right-wing government’s formation.
“We have never, ever asked for Israel to become a state of Jewish law,” Litzman and Gafni said. “He wants to topple Netanyahu and form a left-wing government.”