Netanyahu says won't name Lieberman defense minister if elected
Likud chief refuses to commit to negotiations with Syria if he is tapped to form next government.
If Benjamin Netanyahu is tapped to form Israel's next governing coalition, he will not appoint Yisrael Beiteinu chief Avigdor Lieberman as his defense minister, the Likud chairman told Channel 1 on Monday, just hours before Israelis go to the polls.
"If I am elected, I will approach all the Zionist parties to join a coalition headed by the Likud," Netanyahu said. "We will take all these parties - Kadima, Labor, Yisrael Beiteinu."
Netanyahu added that he is not ready to commit to holding negotiations with the Syrians.
"The Olmert government's understandings with the Syrians do not obligate me," he said. "Rather, Israel's security [obligates me]."
Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni said she too would seek to form a unity government if elected. "After I am elected, I will immediately turn to two parties - Likud and Labor - and invite them to join the center," she said. "This I promise. On this basis we can add more parties that will go along Kadima's path."
Livni also addressed recent reports indicating that she voted in favor of a number of decisions against the advancement of women. "Everywhere I've been I have promoted women, irrespective of what they think and whether they are feminists," she said. "One of my political battles was my refusal to appoint only judges who are obstinate when it comes to women's issues."
Earlier Monday, Livni told Army Radio that she will not serve in a Netanyahu-led government because "there are rebels in the Likud, and a vote for Netanyahu includes Shas in the same vote. They demanded that I halt the diplomatic process."