Lieberman Rules Out Joining Government With Arab Israeli Parties

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Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman attending an INSS conference, February 2020.
Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman attending an INSS conference, February 2020. Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman said Friday his party wouldn't joint a governing coalition with the Joint List, an alliance of four Arab-majority parties, but added it would with the left-wing Meretz.

In a press release, Lieberman said that his party "won't cooperate, directly or indirectly, with terror supporters, including the Arab Joint List."

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Lieberman added that Yisrael Beiteinu "has no problem with being part of the same coalition as the joint Labor-Gesher-Meretz slate, of which Meretz constitutes a small part."

In January, Labor Chairman Amir Peretz, who had already united with Orli Levi-Abekasis' Gesher party, and the left-wing Meretz's leader Nitzan Horowitz declared officially their parties are merging ahead of Israel's March 2 election and would run on a joint ticket.

"Yisrael Beiteinu has been in the past part of governing coalitions containing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Labor leader Amir Peretz, while Gesher head Orli Levi-Abekasis used to be a member of Yisrael Beiteinu," the statement read.

"And for those who forgot, some of the Likud ministers were members of the Kadima party, with several of them, including Netanyahu, voting in favor of the Gaza disengagement in 2005," Lieberman said in his statement.      

The Yisrael Beiteinu leader also added that "Less than a year ago, Netanyahu begged to then-Labor chief Avi Gabbay to join his government."   

Benny Gantz's Kahol Lavan is currently trying to map out several scenarios that would allow it to form a coalition without the Joint List's support. "We'll form a minority government after enlisting a majority of Zionists supporters that will block Netanyahu from forming a government," a Kahol Lavan lawmaker said.

"If Lieberman joins us, we'd have more Knesset seats than the right-wing bloc and we wouldn't need the support of the Joint List," he added.

Another Kahol Lavan source assessed that if Kahol Lavan gets a significant larger number of seats than Likud, the right-wing bloc would shrink, with some of right-wing parties teaming up with Gantz.

Nevertheless, Gantz has implied that his party may cooperate with the Joint List.

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