Netanyahu, Liberman trade barbs over who is more right-wing

Liberman said that Netanyahu was feeling pressure because it is no longer possible to expand his narrow, 61-MK coalition.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
April 19, 2016 04:00
2 minute read.
Avigdor Liberman

Yisrael Beytenu MK Avigdor Liberman ‏. (photo credit: KOBI ZOLTAK)

 
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Following a poll over the weekend that found that new voters in the next election are more right-wing, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman accused each other Sunday and Monday of being leftists.

A Gal Hadash poll on the cover of Friday’s Israel Hayom asked 500 Jewish 11th- and 12th-graders representing a statistical sample of that age group to define themselves politically. It found that 59 percent consider themselves right-wing, 23% centrist, and only 13% leftwing, while 5% said they had no opinion.

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Netanyahu struck first at a pre-Passover toast for Likud activists Monday at Ramat Gan’s Kfar Maccabiah Hotel. He made reference to an effort by the heads of all the parties in the opposition to limit prime ministers to two terms.

“There are constant attempts to topple the government I lead,” Netanyahu told the crowd. “There is even someone who is willing to join forces with [Joint List chairman] Ayman Odeh, even though he presents himself as right-wing. He is trying to replace with a right-wing government with an extreme leftwing government. We won’t let it happen.”

Liberman responded Monday morning on his Facebook page that when he heard Netanyahu’s accusations he broke out laughing.

“The man from Caesarea is calling the man from Nokdim left-wing?” Liberman asked, referring to the settlement in Judea where he lives and Netanyahu’s weekend villa in the upscale coastal city. “The same man was close two weeks ago to bringing Labor into his government. The same Netanyahu changes his mind every day, based on the direction of the wind.”

Liberman said that Netanyahu was feeling pressure because it is no longer possible to expand his narrow, 61-MK coalition, due to the criminal investigation of Zionist Union and Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog.

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“He is shooting in every direction, because his polls are not good,” Liberman said. “Unfortunately for him, hysteria is not a work plan.”

Liberman advised Netanyahu to use the upcoming Passover holiday to “calm down a little and relax.”

Netanyahu confirmed coalition talks with the Zionist Union for the first time Monday in a briefing for diplomatic reporters.

“It is no secret that there were contacts with the Zionist Union, but the contacts did not ripen,” he said.

“Today the only secret meetings are between Liberman and [Yesh Atid leader Yair] Lapid.”

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