In what has become typical fare in Israel politics during the endless impasse, politicians took turns attacking each other’s integrity and ability while continuing to pledge allegiance to the goal of national unity.
Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman questioned the leadership abilities of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Blue and White chief Benny Gantz (even though he urges both to join in a unity government).
“Netanyahu’s slander and accusations against me and others, as well as his inability to make one simple decision to part from the ultra-Orthodox-messianic bloc, raise a giant question mark concerning his leadership skills and the considerations that guide him,” Liberman fulminated in an online statement.
As for the other side: “The continued evasion of a decision on accepting the president’s proposal by Benny Gantz also raises tough questions concerning [his] leadership and decision-making ability in a critical period.”
Shas party chairman Rabbi Aryeh Deri observed:
“Yesterday[Motzoei Shabbos] something significant happened in Israel. Avigdor Liberman took another step toward his political and moral abyss and clearly declared he would prefer to sit with the members of the Joint List led by Ayman Odeh and Ahmad Tibi — whom he has called a ‘fifth column’ and ‘terrorists’ — and not with us, his brothers and sisters, the traditional, religious and chareidi public,” Rabbi Deri said in a statement.
Similarly, PM Netanyahu accused Liberman of “fully coordinating” his moves with the Arab parties and planning to form a minority government with them and the left wing.
Liberman intimated that if Netanyahu refused to dump the right-wing and religious parties, he could support, from the outside, a minority government led by Gantz. Such an arrangement would see Liberman allied with Arab MKs whom he has long accused of “disloyalty” and “terror support.”
At the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, Netanyahu quoted from a transcript published over the weekend by Haaretz of a call between its journalist and MK Osama Saadi of the Joint List, during which Saadi said Yisrael Beytenu MK Eli Avidar had come for a meeting.
He cited it as evidence that Liberman was working in concert with the Joint List and Gantz.