Party leaders take gloves off as do-over race begins

Netanyahu accused Liberman of telling another party head that he would not join the government because if he did, "Netanyahu will last another 10 years."

By
May 31, 2019 17:16
2 minute read.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promises to do all he can to build a coalition in a press conferen

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promises to do all he can to build a coalition in a press conference Monday 27.05.2019. (photo credit: NOAM REVKIN FENTON / FLASH 90)

The first day of 2019’s second election began with mutual recriminations between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman over who bears blame for the do over elections. 

In a statement to media in Jerusalem, Netanyahu called Liberman "a serial toppler of right-wing governments." He displayed a chart of Yisrael Beytenu’s mandates in recent elections and said Liberman used the conscription issue as a “patent” to save the party from falling below the threshold.

Netanyahu accused Liberman of telling another party head that he would not join the government because if he did, "Netanyahu will last another 10 years."

“The lesson is that the Right cannot trust Liberman,” Netanyahu said. “He acts drunk from power out of personal ambition against the good of the country.”

Yisrael Beytenu responded by accusing Netanyahu of “lying because he is under pressure.”

Earlier, at a Tel Aviv press conference, Liberman responded to Netanyahu calling him a Leftist.

“When a man from Caeserea calls a man from Nokdim a leftist, I want to remind the prime minister that it was him who voted for the disengagement from Gaza, apologized to the dictator Erdogan, blocked the death penalty and the evacuation of Khan El-Ahmar and responded to 700 rockets by transferring $30 million to Hamas.”

He said the prime minister did not want Yisrael Beytenu in the government from day one of coalition talks and tried the entire time to “purchase” MKs in Yisrael Beytenu and opposition parties.

“Our candidates all got offers to leave,” Liberman said. “Likud expected us to blink and get dictates.”

Looking to the future, Liberman said Yisrael Beytenu would not recommend Blue and White leader Benny Gantz to form the next government and hinted that the party would not recommend Netanyahu, because “we want a right-wing nationalist government.”

“We will dictate who next prime minister will be,” he promised.

Gantz wrote on Facebook that “due to political cynicism and exploitation, we are going on the road [to an election] again.”

“Just like before, I humbly declare today, with a great sense of purpose and with full faith in doing what's right for my country, that my partners and I will continue on this journey together and will do everything we can so that Blue and White wins - for Israel and its people. Because now, more than ever, it must, can and will be different.”

Shas and United Torah Judaism leaders also attacked Liberman. UTJ’s Moshe Gafni said he would join a future government with Blue and White number two Yair Lapid but not with Liberman. Deri said Liberman used the conscription issue in an effort to unseat Netanyahu.


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