Liberman declines to recommend Gantz or Netanyahu to form govt

Yisrael Beytenu leader says both candidates have tried to avoid national unity government, denies cooperation with Gantz.

Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman said on Sunday that his party would not recommend either Blue and White leader Benny Gantz or Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the president to form the next government.
Speaking at a meeting of the Yisrael Beytenu faction, Liberman said that both leaders had shown insufficient willingness to decouple themselves from more natural political allies on both the right wing and left wing of the political spectrum.
He called again, however, for a national unity government between Blue and White and Likud, and said that Gantz and Netanyahu should not drag the country into new elections simply over who gets to be prime minister first in a rotation agreement.
“When Benjamin Netanyahu and Likud decided to create a bloc with the ultra-Orthodox parties and then with the group of messianics, we can’t recommend Benjamin Netanyahu,” Liberman said, using his derogatory “messianics” label for the right-wing, religious Yamina party. “He can’t be our recommendation and we can’t be part of this bloc.”
Liberman ruled out Gantz as well, alleging that the Blue and White leader was seeking to establish a government with the ultra-Orthodox – who Liberman has vowed to keep out of government – and the Joint List, whom Liberman said he could never sit in government with.
“I have already said that I see the ultra-Orthodox parties as political opponents and not as an enemy,” intoned Liberman. “The Joint List is, however, certainly an enemy and not political opponents, and wherever they are we will be on the other side of the aisle.”
Liberman accused the leadership of the Joint List of supporting terrorists and seeking to undermine the country from within.
He insisted that if the Arab sector is in need of higher budgets from the State, that it should go through the local Arab political leadership of mayors and municipal councils and not through the Joint List party in the Knesset.
“It is big error to do deals with the Joint List or to provide benefits to the Arab sector through the Joint List,” Liberman said. “The leadership of the Joint List is extremist, and so we need to go straight to mayors and local leadership and skip over the Joint List, which is directly and indirectly trying to destroy the country from within.”
The Yisrael Beytenu leader did, however, call on both Gantz and Netanyahu to put aside their egos and find away to decide who becomes prime minister first in a rotation deal, saying that they could flip a coin if they wanted just as long as they came to an agreement.