Lieberman Calls for an Emergency Unity Government Following Elections

Speaking at an event launching his party's campaign in Ariel, Lieberman rejects allegations against party members, criticizes Netanyahu's handling of the Gaza war.

ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid
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Avigdor Lieberman talking to the press on Sunday, December 28, 2014.
Avigdor Lieberman talking to the press on Sunday, December 28, 2014.Credit: Emil Salman
ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman called Tuesday evening for the formation of a wide unity government including all the Zionist parties after the upcoming elections.

Speaking at an event launching his party's election campaign in Ariel, Lieberman said that if he will be called upon to lead the next government, he would "invite both [Benjamin] Netanyahu and [Isaac] Herzog to join our government.

In his speech, Lieberman criticized Netanyahu and Minister of Defense Moshe Ya'alon's handling of Operation Protective Edge this summer. "There is a huge gap between the rhetoric and the facts on the ground with respect to the war in Gaza. If we started a war, we shouldn't have stopped it in the middle. I always held the prime minister in high regard, but we always had our differences. During the operation there were disagreements and I didn't hide it," he said.

"I don't want to start an internal struggle in the nationalist camp," Lieberman said. "I will answer the allegations put forward against us claiming that Yisrael Beiteinu has become a leftist party and that we will not support Netanyahu for the premiership. Six Likud Ministers and senior MKs voted for the disengagement [from Gaza]. Not on member of Yisrael Beiteinu supported it. Remind them that fact."

Lieberman continued with a jab at Netanyahu: "It wasn't Yisrael Beiteinu who give up Hebron. There were others who did that."

Lieberman only made one passing comment on the alleged corruption scandal that involving members of his party. "The election hasn't begun yet but for the police and Lahav 443 (the national police unit tasked with fighting corruption and organized crime) the elections are already in full swing."

On Sunday, Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino addressed the corruption scandal embroiling Yisrael Beiteinu and party chairman Avigdor Lieberman's claims that the probe was timed to coincide with elections, saying, "We have an important job – to safeguard the character of the State of Israel."

Danino said that the disclosure of the investigation resulted from prior planning, "long before the elections were moved up." He said the evidence gathered in the probe, in which some 30 officials were detained for questioning, as well as a single consultation with the attorney general, enabled the police to go public with the case.

The Rishon Lezion Magistrate's Court extended Tuesday the remand of a number of the cases' arrested suspects including Yair Geller, head of the Anti-Drug Authority.

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