Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman said Wednesday that blame for going to a third election belongs to Likud, Blue and White, Arabs and haredim (the ultra-Orthodox) – and that his own party was the only one that has behaved responsibly.
Speaking at a meeting of his faction in the Knesset, Liberman said that sticking to his decision not to join the government after the first two elections helped the country, because seeing a politician could keep his word has importance to the public.
“Two parties who together have 65 seats bear responsibility for an unnecessary election,” he said. “Beyond ego of who goes first in a rotation, both parties essentially preferred elections to a unity government.”
When asked by The Jerusalem Post if he bore any responsibility for the election, he said “zero percent.” When told that Channel 13’s poll on Monday night found that 26% of the public said he was most to blame, Liberman said such numbers were the fault of the media.
Liberman said that “Blue and White tricked their voters,” because they took action in Knesset committees that helped the haredim and were willing to form a government with the Joint List.
Liberman said in a lengthy Facebook post on Wednesday morning to explain why he attacked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he was responding to attacks on him by journalists whom he saw as Netanyahu loyalists.
“I have a long fuse, but I will not turn the other cheek,” he said.
Liberman denounced the fact that slander, forgery and malignity against him, his family and his friends have dramatically increased recently, and he accused the Prime Minister’s Residence of instigating those attacks.
“Although, since the beginning of the election campaign for the 22nd Knesset, I have made it clear that Yisrael Beytenu would only support a unity government – and although I have acted in a civic-oriented and responsible way – the prime minister’s associates, in various ways, have repeatedly given their own ‘explanation’ on why I did not join a Messianic/ultra-Orthodox government led by Netanyahu,” Liberman wrote, saying that they suggested that he was “blackmailed by the police and the prosecutor’s office, he was afraid of investigation, and he had become the legal establishment’s darling.”
He added that when he had to face legal problems, he never claimed immunity.
Liberman quoted what Netanyahu said in 2008 when Olmert was facing legal problems. “This is a prime minister who has fallen into the throes of investigation and has no public and moral mandate to set such fateful things in the State of Israel. There is a concern – I have to say real, not unsubstantiated – that he will make decisions based on the personal interest of his political survival and not [the] national interest,” the Likud leader said back then.
Addressing Netanyahu, he went on to say that, “if I wanted to attack or hurt you where you are most vulnerable, Mr. Prime Minister, I would have reminded you of that,” adding that he could have supported the “Blue and White” bill to prevent an indicted Knesset member to sit in the government.
He also remarked that he could have easily joined a government led by Blue and White and suggested that, had Netanyahu been in his shoes, he would have.
“The difference between you and me is that I have values and you have interests,” he stated. “The most important value for me is friendship, something that is completely foreign to you.”
“Mr. Prime Minister, you are disqualifying yourself,” he concluded.