Lieberman: Lapid Is Only Interested in Becoming Israel's PM

At the first joint faction meeting of Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu, former foreign minister Lieberman criticized the Yesh Atid chairman, saying he is not interested in the good of the country.

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Former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Tuesday criticized Yair Lapid, the leader of Yesh Atid party, and said that he is only interested in replacing Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister and not in the good of the country.

At the first joint Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu meeting since the election, Lieberman said: “This is the first time I see people who the day after an election aren’t talking about the good of the country but rather about how to become prime minister."

"He isn’t asking where the money is anymore," Lieberman added, referring to Yesh Atid's campaign slogan. "I hope this is just temporary and we’ll soon get down to businesslike negotiations.”

As for the election results, in which the Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu together lost 11 seats, Lieberman suggested to look at the glass as half full: “We won, 1:0, but we won. We are working hard to establish the next government.”

As coalition talks between the parties are underway, an official close to Netanyahu on Monday lashed back at Lapid, accusing him of being "drunk with power" after Lapid declared that if the prime minister does not answer his party's demands, he would replace him in 18 months.

"He's convinced he is running the country," the source said.

Lapid and Habayit Hayehudi head Naftali Bennett are working to form an alliance before they enter the coalition, which would be based on promoting legislation for equal sharing of the national service burden. The unified front is aimed at blocking the ultra-Orthodox parties.

At the meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for a national unity government: “We have to join forces, emphasize what unites us and act in every way possible to establish a broad national unity government. I have spoken with all the faction heads. I see myself as everyone’s prime minister. I want to thank you, Yvet (Avigdor Lieberman), and your colleagues, for the important effort to provide an anchor and hope for the people of Israel.”

After election results were made public, Lieberman, who is eying the Foreign Ministry, said that Lapid would be the natural choice for finance minister in the next government.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman attend a Likud-Yisrael Beitenu faction meeting at parliament in Jerusalem, February 5, 2013.Credit: Reuters

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