ISRAEL HEADED TOWARDS 3RD ELECTIONS: Lieberman Attacks Charieidm, Compares Them To “Satmar Extremists”

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Chairman of the Yisrael Beitenu party MK Avigdor Lieberman on Wednesday refused to endorse a candidate for prime minister, blaming both the contenders engaged in a tense standoff that has paralyzed Israeli politics and pushing the country toward a likely third election in less than a year.

Lieberman’s comments came ahead of a midnight deadline for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rival, Benny Gantz, to form a coalition. Without Lieberman, Gantz appears unable to secure the required majority in parliament to be prime minister.

If Israel is forced into a third election, it would be entering uncharted waters, with opinion polls already predicting a very similar deadlock. But a new campaign could benefit the embattled Netanyahu, who is expected to be indicted on corruption charges in the coming weeks. Netanyahu would be best-positioned to fight any charges from the prime minister’s office.

Lieberman held a press conference at 1:00PM as promised, during which he declared that during the coalition negotiating process with the various parties, he was offered ‘rotation’ but he declined. He emphasized in the press conference, which last about 45 minutes, with questions and answers, that he and his party colleagues did whatever they could to form a liberal national unity coalition government. He attacked the chareidim for being “anti-Zionist” and compared them to extremists like Satmar. He had equally harsh words for Peleg Yerushalmi.

Lieberman explained “they” did everything possible to entice him to join a coalition, including becoming the person who fills in for the PM when he is abroad, as well as rotating into the slot during the last year of the government’s tenure. “Half of the kingdom plus 10%. We are not selling our principles for [cabinet] seats, upholstered as they may be”.

“We will continue fighting for a liberal government coalition”.

Lieberman was careful not to insult Netanyahu or Gantz, placing the blame on both equally.

Some of the main points he made include:
• There must be a separation between religion and state. The chareidim cannot be permitted to continue moving between the two large parties and extorting money.
• There are 150,000 talmidim and avreichim. Limud torah is a welcome endeavor but just as there are 1,500 university students who receive a draft deferment, so it must be with those learning Torah. Do the math.
• I will not become a member of a minority government supported by the Joint Arab List, “which is a fifth column”.
• I will not join a narrow government.
• Blue & White and Likud exchanged accusations but did not make decisions. Both sides are at fault.
• While I respect the president, I do not support his initiative.
• The nation is being held hostage by the Arabs and the chareidim and this is “the true anti-Zionist axis”.
• He mentioned the arrival of the Satmar Rebbe of Williamsburg in Israel this week, “to distribute millions of dollars”, calling on Israel’s Tax Authority to investigate this.
• This is an intolerable situation. I do not see the chareidi parties decrying or condemning the harsh statements made against the state and the IDF soldiers by Satmar.
• The Peleg Yerushalmi is worrisome, and the fact they received two seats in the Jerusalem City Council. The organization actively works against the state, and regularly attacks soldiers; both verbally and physically.

I believe it was possible to reach agreement here. We remain committed to unity. I am most concerned with the ‘cooperation’ seen over the last 24 hours between Tibi and Gafne, but when it comes to votes on matters of religion and state, we see how the two make deals and a book can be written on the handling of the Knesset Finance Committee.

We spoke with the chareidim and it is simply like talking to the wall. We spoke about “a return to normalcy” and making concessions, but no one is listening. But we tried. The same regarding the Draft Bill, and when it was voted on, they deliberately left the Knesset plenum.

There was an understanding in the nation regarding giyur and the chareidim broke it as they violated the status quo with the Shabbos Supermarket Law.

Changes that must be made in the future to ensure governmental stability in the future.
• Changing the law for direct election of the PM.
• The development of a convention between the Zionist parties to redefine religion and state.
• If the PM cannot assemble a coalition in the 30 days allotted, he has the option to form a coalition of “experts” to serve for two years, to permit passing a state budget. This two can be disqualified by 2/3 of the Knesset. This will provide stability and permit the voters to know there is a PM and government for two years.
• Direct election of the PM. This cannot be done for the next election, for it demands serious discussion but the current format has to change.

It appears almost a certainty that MK Benny Gantz will have to return the presidential mandate to President Reuven Rivlin at the end of the day. If this occurs, it begins a 21-day period during which any MK has the right to attempt to form his/her own coalition. If this fails, and most believe it will, the nation will be heading to a third round of Knesset elections in a one-year period.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)




11 COMMENTS

  1. and extorting money Which pales into insignificance compared to the price of all these elections.
    We spoke about “a return to normalcy” ואשיבה שופטיך כבראשונה is the only definition of normalcy and nothing else.
    We spoke with the chareidim and it is simply like talking to the wall. Lieberman is the sole and only wall in all of this.

  2. I invnted a conspiracy theory tying together re the Israeli attack last night on Iranina/Syrian targets and the Russian condemnation of it, and re the chaos in Israel’s political system as reflected in this article.

    Netanyahu operates against Syria and Iran in ways that annoy the Russians, and therefore they are sowing chaos in our political system via the actions of a particular well-known politician who originated in a region Russia controlled, and perhaps also by hacking computers to find incriminating material against Netanyahu which was made available to the attorney general, in order to weaken Netanyahu and therefore lessen Israel’s ability to operate in Syria etc.

    However in return Netanyahu appointed Bennet, who does not have any loyalty to Russia. Appointing Bennet to the defense ministry also perhaps block the agent’s access to that job (which he perhaps once held). So the appointment of Bennet, who is willing to annoy the Russians even more, was a warning to Russia. and Bennet is telling the Russians that Israel is willing to go even to war against their allies and patrons, Syria & Iran, a war which will unleash great chaos in the region, which the Russians fear tremendously, unless the Russians stop meddling. And that Israel will not allow their agent to get the job of defense minister again.

    Perhaps instead Israel should offer to return the agent to the Russians in return for getting back the poor Israeli girl who the Russians locked up on fake charges of “drug-trafficking”.

  3. If there is going to be new elections only the parties that are currently in the Knesset should be eligible. All those votes that were “thrown away” will produce a viable majority.

  4. once again Lieberman can’t say a true sentence

    satmar have no problem with separation of religion in state
    they would have no problem selling higher principles And overriding religion for the collective country’s masses for financial and political pork

    The haredi parties did the diametric opposite of what bloggers incessantly And media diatribes all over the web for years has accused them of
    they refuse to sell the collective faith for political and financial favours
    one has to admire them here

    Such a red herring
    fraudulent the nth degree