Lieberman Implies Netanyahu Sent Investigators to Spy on Him, Calls Israel's Culture Minister 'Beast'

Kingmaker and Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Lieberman also bashes FM Katz as 'pathetic liar' and says that Likud can 'go to hell' if they offer him rotation agreement

Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman at a press conference, September 2017.
Olivier Fitoussi

Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman slammed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other members of his Likud Party on Monday, saying the premier “isn’t capable of understanding concepts like friendship or loyalty."

In an interview with the Israeli Maariv daily, Lieberman said that he wouldn’t be surprised if Netanyahu and his associates had hired private investigators to stalk him and his family.

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“The problem with Bibi is once you have a different approach or perception than his, and it goes against his interests, you immediately become a personal enemy. You are immediately accused of hating the prime minister, that you’re a leftist and that you’re trying to overthrow him, while ignoring the facts,” Lieberman said.

>> Read more: Lieberman strikes back: Why the man who helped put Netanyahu in power is now taking him down 

The Yisrael Beiteinu leader insisted that he would not compromise on issues of religion and state that are at the core of his disputes with the ultra-Orthodox parties, which ultimately sent Israel back to the polls for a second 2019 election and generated difficulties in forming a government.

When asked what he would do if offered a rotation agreement for the position of prime minister, Lieberman responded: “They can go to hell. I care about essential issues.”

In reference to ultra-Orthodox Shas leader Arye Dery, Lieberman said that “What Arye did to me constitutes betrayal. There’s no turning back.” It was not explained in what context Lieberman made that statement.

Lieberman also called Culture Minister Miri Regev "a beast," and Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz a "pathetic liar."

“If an intellectual like [Ze'ev] Jabotinsky would have listened for one minute to Miri Regev, who’s proud of the fact that she’s never held a book by [Anton] Chekhov, he would be horrified. It’s an insult to the people of the book. That’s what happens when you take an animal and put her in the Culture Ministry," Lieberman said of the culture minister.

According to Maariv, when Lieberman was asked if he wants to apologize for what he said ahead of Yom Kippur, he responded: “I offer a heartfelt apology to the beasts.”

In the past Lieberman had run for Knesset on a joint ticket with Likud, but told Maariv that “today's Likud has no connection to the Revisionist movement. It’s a bunch of wheeler-dealers. For them Likud is just a platform for their personal political career.”