Liberman: Our obligation to the coalition is over

Yacimovich, Gal-On submit bills to dissolve Knesset; Mofaz prepares Kadima for early elections.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman 311 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS/Baz Ratner)
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman 311 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Baz Ratner)
Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman said on Saturday that his party was no longer obligated to the coalition, as heads of opposition parties called for early elections.
“Our obligation to the coalition has ended, and we are also obligated to voters, so we are going to make decisions,” Liberman told Channel 2’s Meet the Press.
Yisrael Beytenu did all it could to keep the coalition together as long as possible, Liberman said, adding that while the original date (September 2013) for an election would be best, his party “won’t be held hostage.”
However, Liberman said all talk about elections must wait until after May 9, when Yisrael Beytenu’s alternative to the “Tal Law,” which calls for most haredim and Arabs to enlist in the IDF or participate in national service programs, will be brought to a vote in the Knesset.
“After the vote, we will truly know where we are going and when,” the foreign minister explained.
Meanwhile, Kadima chairman Shaul Mofaz called for his party to prepare for a vote on October 16, the earliest possible date for elections after the High Holy Days and Succot.
“This government’s days are numbered,” Mofaz warned on his Facebook page. “[Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu has failed in his job, and the time has come to bring hope back to Israel.”
Mofaz wrote that Netanyahu must start discussing elections openly and reach an agreement with other parties on the date. If he does not do so, Kadima will propose a bill to dissolve the Knesset as soon as next week.
When elections come, the Kadima leader wrote, the citizens of Israel will choose between “continued apathy and extremism from the current government, and hope.”
As part of preparations for the elections that Mofaz was sure will come this year, he has begun discussions with Kadima MKs about when the party’s internal elections to choose its candidates list for the next Knesset should be held.
Other opposition party leaders were not waiting for answers from Netanyahu, as Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich and Meretz head Zehava Gal-On both proposed bills to dissolve the Knesset.
Yacimovich said the government was “systematically destroying solidarity” and “avoiding taking responsibility for the lives of its citizens.”
The Labor chairwoman said her party was ready for elections, and would run against the Likud to lead the country.
Yacimovich’s bill will be put to a vote in the second week of the Knesset’s summer session, which starts on Monday, while Gal-On will bring her proposal to the plenum on Wednesday, the first day possible to do so.
The gap in dates led Kadima and Meretz to accuse Yacimovich of coordinating her bill with Netanyahu.
“Meretz wants to bring the government down, not to join it, but to replace it with a better government for the State of Israel,” Gal-On said.
Yacimovich denied the accusations, and called on all opposition factions to support her proposal.
“This is not the time for baseless accusations and small-minded politics that probably come from doing badly in the polls,” she quipped.
“Our challenge is to unite and bring down the Netanyahu government, which increased the gaps in Israeli society to dangerous dimensions, shrinking the middle class,” the Labor Party head said.