Landau joins Israel Beiteinu because he 'can't trust Likud'

Former minister also tells 'Post' he sees "the danger of Tzipi Livni leading the country."

landau 248 88 AJ (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
landau 248 88 AJ
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Veteran former Likud minister Uzi Landau announced at a Tel Aviv press conference on Monday that he was joining Israel Beiteinu as Avigdor Lieberman's number two. Landau served as an MK from 1984 until 2006. He served as internal security minister and a minister-without-portfolio in former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's governments but quit in protest of the Gaza Strip disengagement. Lieberman first spoke to Landau about joining his party a year ago, but Landau only decided to return to politics over the past two months. He said he joined Israel Beiteinu because he was afraid of Kadima Leader Tzipi Livni forming the next government or Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu giving her a prominent role in a government he would form. "I see what's happening in the political arena and the danger of Tzipi Livni leading the country," Landau told The Jerusalem Post. "Disillusioned people in the nationalist camp who didn't vote in the last election want a party with self-respect, values and an understanding that there is justice in our Zionist endeavor. "If Israel Beiteinu is in Netanyahu's government, weak concessions will be taken off the table and our friends abroad would know this is a government that won't buckle under," he said. Landau said he disagreed with Lieberman's diplomatic plan, which calls for exchanges of populations, but said that diplomatic issues were irrelevant at a time when no legitimate diplomatic negotiations were possible. Asked if he would agree to join a Livni-led government, Landau said he did not believe she would win the race. At the press conference, Landau lamented having to leave the Likud, whose forerunner Herut was the party of his youth as the son of Haim Landau, an Etzel commander who served in the Knesset for 28 years. But Landau said he saw joining Israel Beiteinu as the best way for him to prevent territorial concessions. "In the past few years, too many people used the Likud as a tool to advance ideas that do not fit the nationalist camp and will endanger Israel," Landau said. "Israel needs a strong national camp, which is our hope for withstanding the tests facing us. Avigdor and I are here to safeguard the country," he added. Both Landau and Lieberman warned against the formation of a national unity government with Likud, Labor and Kadima. Landau said it would send a message to Sderot residents that Labor chairman Ehud Barak would remain defense minister and their security would not improve. "I was surprised to hear about the national unity government that the Likud wants to form," Lieberman said. "There is only one meaning to national unity government: the Right wins elections and the Left continues to reign. We have learned that from experience." Lieberman said that Landau was one of the most respected people in Israel politics and that his joining brought pride to Israel Beiteinu. National Union MK Uri Ariel, a candidate to head the party being formed to the Right of the Likud, said that Landau "had nothing in common with Israel Beiteinu, which sat in governments that froze settlement construction and allowed the Kadima government to survive." The Likud declined to comment.