Deri: Liberman would have to plead for us to sit in govt with him

Shas leader does not, however rule, out coalition with Yisrael Beytenu.

Aryeh Deri during Shas Conference on February 10th, 2019 (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/ MAARIV)
Aryeh Deri during Shas Conference on February 10th, 2019
Shas chairman Aryeh Deri has said that his one-time friend Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman would have to plead with the ultra-Orthodox political parties in order to form a coalition together.
The interior minister spoke of how he had been hurt by Liberman’s fierce campaign against the ultra-Orthodox political parties and community, but said he would agree to sit with the Yisrael Beytenu in government again, but not Blue and White co-chairman Yair Lapid because he claimed that Lapid invented the idea of forming governments without the ultra-Orthodox parties.
“Liberman has found a community that lives on two things: hatred of the ultra-Orthodox and hatred of Netanyahu, and he’s going with them with full force,” Deri said in an interview with Yediot Aharonot on Friday.
Deri said he would also not rule out sitting with Blue and White co-chairman Benny Gantz but said that Lapid was “a red line,” and said that if and when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gets the first chance to form the government, he believed Blue and White would split up and that Gantz’s Israel Resilience party would join Likud in a right-wing government.
“I will not, under any circumstances, sit with Lapid,” he added, but suggested that Liberman in a right-wing government with the ultra-Orthodox parties was still an option.
“[Lapid] invented the idea of a government without the ultra-Orthodox in 2013… Lapid does not regret this - he has not repented, he continues on his path of incitement,” said Deri.
Asked about his position on sitting with Liberman, Deri noted that the Yisrael Beytenu chief has himself promised to sit in the opposition if the right-wing and religious parties get a majority.
“Will I beg him to join the government? No. If he begs us, what will we do? I don’t know. Lapid we won’t forgive because he has proved himself with his deeds that he is serious. With Liberman, his word is just his word,” Deri said with a sting.
The Shas leader also did not rule out third elections if there is no majority for either the right-wing or left-wing blocs and a national-unity government proves impossible to form.
“There is a chance, but we will do everything so that this does not happen… the public is fed up [with the situation] and this is clear to us.”