Liberman has 'deal with Blue and White, Left, Arab parties' to form gov't

‘Shas cooperating with Likud on the ground to reach all potential right-wing voters’

Blue and White leader Benny Gantz meets with Yisrael Beteynu chairman Avigdor Liberman for coalition negotiations, November 19, 2019 (photo credit: ELAD MALKA)
Blue and White leader Benny Gantz meets with Yisrael Beteynu chairman Avigdor Liberman for coalition negotiations, November 19, 2019
(photo credit: ELAD MALKA)
Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman has come to an agreement with Blue and White and left-wing political parties to form a government supported by the Joint List of Arab parties after the upcoming elections, according to Shas leader Arye Deri.
Speaking at an event launching Shas’s election campaign, he castigated Liberman and accused him of responsibility for Israel’s ongoing political stalemate, while warning of impending doom for the Jewish character of the State of Israel.
Shas’s campaign launch was a far more low-key affair than similar events over the last two elections. It was held in a modest events hall in Jerusalem’s Givat Shaul neighborhood.
Several hundred Shas activists showed up to cheer on Deri and the rest of the Shas electoral slate, extolling the Shas chairman and spiritual leader Rabbi Shalom Cohen.
Deri lamented the wasted billions on the elections and the inability of the interim government to take decisions and pass a budget.
“There is only one person responsible and that is Avigdor Liberman,” he said to a chorus of hissing and boos. “From the beginning to the end, he is the only person responsible.”
Deri said Liberman had used the issue of ultra-Orthodox enlistment as an excuse not to join a right-wing government after the April election, adding that he had then “re-marketed himself” as anti-haredi to gain votes in the September campaign and now in the current one.
Deri said Liberman’s recent pledge that there will not be fourth elections, made several times over the last week, is based on an agreement he has made to form a minority government with Blue and White, Meretz and Labor, supported by the Joint List.
“I have checked out his claim with the most trustworthy sources, and it is true, there is an agreement and they are going to form a government immediately after the elections,” Deri said. “Yes, there is an agreement between him and Gantz, Lapid, Meretz, Avoda and Joint List, Odeh and Tibi...
“This coalition has already been stitched together, and this is a danger to the Jewish character of State of Israel as a Jewish state. It is a danger to the Land of Israel and it is a danger to Shabbat, whether or not it will continue to be a day of rest, or become like week days.”
Deri questioned whether “the gates will be opened to hundreds of thousands of non-Jews to enter the country.”
This comment referenced the recent debate over the Law of Return and Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef’s comments that “hundreds of thousands” of civilians from the former Soviet Union who are not Jewish according to Jewish law were brought to the country to counterbalance the influence of the ultra-Orthodox.
Deri said Shas and Likud were now cooperating on the ground in their efforts to reach all potential right-wing, religiously traditional and ultra-Orthodox voters to exhaust entirely the electoral potential of the right-wing bloc.
He underlined his right-wing credentials, which have often been in question since Shas abstained in the Knesset on a vote on the Oslo Accords in 1993, allowing it to pass.
Deri peppered his speech with references to “the Land of Israel” and warmly praised US President Donald Trump for the plan he unveiled last week.
“The Land of Israel belongs to us in the merit of promises that G-d gave to our forefathers,” he said. “Anyone who believes in the Bible knows that the Creator promised this land to the Jewish people. We are not asking for favors from everyone.
“We very much thank President Donald Trump, who has presented a plan that really looks out for the security of the Land of Israel, recognizes our borders and the settlements, and we give our prime minister our trust and support that he knows how to do the best thing for the Land of Israel and the People of Israel,” Deri said.