MK Ze'ev Elkin (Likud), a member of the security cabinet who recently lost his campaign to become mayor of Jerusalem, said that Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman's resignation on Wednesday shows a complete lack of responsibility, in an interview on Army Radio early Thursday morning.
"Liberman's resignation at this time is bizarre and completely lacking responsibility. I cannot find any logical explanation for his decision," Elkin said. "With all due respect to politics, there is a country here, there are challenges here - we have to deal with them," Elkin added. Elkin also said that he believes that it's possible to reach a solution for the situation in Gaza but did not specify what the solution is.Elkin's comments were made in light of the fact that Liberman's resignation is likely to lead to early elections. Liberman not only resigned but also removed his party Yisrael Beytenu from the coalition. With Yisrael Beytenu out, the coalition will be left with only 61 seats, and Bayit Yehudi threatened to leave the coalition unless Netanyahu gives Liberman's position to Education Minister Naftali Bennet. A one-vote majority will be difficult to maintain, especially if highly contested legislation such as haredi conscription goes to vote.Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi) said that if the prime minister doesn't appoint Bennett as Defense Minister, Bayit Yehudi will set a date for elections, in an interview on Army Radio on Thursday morning.Netanyahu must decide whether to maintain the government until November 19 or hold elections now," Shaked said. "If we stay until the end, then the right thing is to give Bennett the defense portfolio and continue for another year. If anyone can fill this position, it's Bennett. I think that he's the best person for the position."Shaked also placed responsibility for the continuation of the government on Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu)and said that he and Netanyahu need to make a decision.Coalition chair MK Dudi Amsalem (Likud) said that Bennett is responsible for of the current crisis and should not be given the defense portfolio, on Channel Two on Thursday morning. "If the prime minister asked me, I would tell him that in my opinion, Bennett is the one who caused this crisis," Amsalem said."Bennett has been picking on the defense minister for eight months already. I don't know of anything else like this. I don't think it's right; you don't act like this in a government. If you have a comment - a problem - there's cabinet meetings for that. You don't go to the media every two weeks. I don't accept this Before you are a politician, be a human being."Claiming that the government has capitulated to terrorism, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman announced his resignation on Wednesday, one day after Israel agreed to an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.“I have tried to remain a faithful member of the cabinet and to make heard another view, even at a great electoral and political price,” Liberman said at a news briefing immediately following the faction meeting. However, Tuesday’s ceasefire with Hamas “cannot be interpreted in any way other than a capitulation to terrorism,” he added. “This will severely harm our security in the long run. The response that we gave to the 500 rockets shot from Gaza was not enough, to say the least. The South should come first. Our weakness is being broadcast to other fronts.”Terrorists should not feel free to riot at the border or incite against Israel, Liberman added. “Hamas isn’t talking about coexistence and recognition of Israel,” he said. “They don’t want to reduce unemployment in Gaza.”Liberman asked the coalition to act swiftly to decide on a date for an election. “Don’t paralyze the country in the long term,” he said.Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman resigns over Hamas ceasefire, November 15, 2018 (Reuters)