Yisrael Beytenu chief Avigdor Liberman.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman slammed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as weak and inconsistent on Monday, after the latter said the former is helping the Left.
Speaking to Likud central committee members Sunday night about difficulties in forming a government, Netanyahu said: “An error happened here, and that error is simple: Six seats that were supposed to be part of the nationalist camp’s coalition went from one side to the other.
“I don’t think even one percent of Yisrael Beytenu voters would have voted for that party if they knew they would unite with the Left to bring down a Likud government,” he added, referring to the party going to the opposition.
Netanyahu said “it was pretty clear early on [in coalition talks] that we didn’t have Yisrael Beytenu,” implying that Liberman’s tactic was to stay in talks as long as possible in order to increase other parties’ demands and weaken the Likud.
On Monday, Liberman said Netanyahu forgot the real reasons Yisrael Beytenu refused to sit in the coalition, which is because “Netanyahu abandoned the nationalist camp and he is no longer part of the Israeli Right.”
Liberman pointed out that Netanyahu did not agree to all his demands, like writing in the coalition guidelines that the government will eradicate Hamas and committing to passing death penalty for terrorists. In addition, he recounted that Netanyahu voted in favor of the 2005 Gaza disengagement and that the prime minister apologized for his warning on Election Day that Arabs are flowing to voting booths en masse.
“Netanyahu is not Right and not Left, he is Mr. Zig- Zag, the world champion of zig-zagging,” Liberman quipped. “Yisrael Beytenu has no problem with the Likud, we have a big problem with Netanyahu.”
Liberman also said Netanyahu is wrong in saying Yisrael Beytenu voters are not happy that he is in the opposition, saying that polling on Russian- language news sites shows 80 percent of voters support that decision and 80 percent of immigrants from the former Soviet Union who voted Likud would vote Yisrael Beytenu if an election were to take place today.
“So I think everyone, including the prime minister, should stick to facts and what is really happening and not say baseless things,” he suggested.
Liberman expressed support for one thing Netanyahu did: Appointing Ze’ev Elkin as Jerusalem Affairs minister, despite Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat’s anger.
The Yisrael Beytenu chairman, who backed Moshe Lion in the last Jerusalem mayoral election, said “Barkat does not deal with developing the city, he only deals with public relations for himself at the expense of Jerusalem residents.”