Netanyahu Alone Responsible for Dragging Israel Into Third Election, Lieberman Says

Yisrael Beiteinu argues that Likud's foot-dragging, lack of compromise are clear proof that the PM does not want to form a unity government

Lieberman speaks during a Yisrael Beiteinu meeting, October 28, 2019
Emil Salman

Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of dragging Israel into a third round of elections in a Sunday morning post on his Facebook page.

Netanyahu’s insistence on asking for the inclusion of the religious right into a unity government, Lieberman wrote, as well as being first in rotation for the premiership “indicates with certainty that the entire responsibility for the paralysis of government institutions, and for a third round of elections, lies with Netanyahu, and Netanyahu alone.

According to the post, Yisrael Beiteinu rejected several unilateral moves that could hurt negotiations for the establishment of a government, such as supporting for a law that would prohibit an indicted member of Knesset to be prime minister, or another that would allow replacing the Knesset speaker in an interim government.

Lieberman said his party eschewed such offers because they clearly target a single individual, and that it “opposes controversial unilateral moves in a transition period.”

Lieberman also said his plan for the establishment of a unity government would have Netanyahu serving first in a premiership rotation arrangement. But Yisrael Beiteinu made offers to Likud to start negotiations on that basis, in writing and orally, and received no reply.

“The only conclusion from this kind of foot-dragging is that Netanyahu is taking the State of Israel to another election," the post read.

"Netanyahu is holding onto the Haredi [ultra-Orthodox]-messianic bloc for personal reasons and would be willing to sacrifice both the chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, and the immigrants of the former Soviet Union in favor of that bloc,” Lieberman also posited.

On Thursday, Lieberman said he would refuse to join a minority government with support from outside by the largely Arab Joint List.

“Clearly the Joint List is a fifth column," Lieberman told Liron Dekel and Amit Segel on Israeli public broadcaster Kan radio. "It is not by chance that three senior representatives of Balad were indicted and convicted of security offenses,” he said, referring to one of the parties constituting the Joint List. “The Joint List unfortunately does not represent the Arabs of Israel. Throughout the election campaign we said that we have only one option – a unity government, period. We will continue to uphold everything we promised voters.”