Liberman sets sights on becoming Israel’s next prime minister

Liberman says he has the talent and experience to be prime minister. 

By World Israel News Staff

Avigdor Liberman, head of the Israel Beiteinu party, appears to have his eyes directed at the prime minister’s office, Israel Hayom reports on Sunday.

“I don’t reject the possibility of a rotation at the head of the government,” he said at a Saturday event in Modi’in.

“There are those for whom the prime ministership is an obsession. For me, it’s an option. First, we need to win in the elections. The speculations I leave to others. It’s clear that every soldier wants to be chief of staff, but come, let’s keep our feet on the ground,” he said.

“It interests me to be prime minister, but I’m realistic and try to see the whole picture. I’m trying first of all to bring in enough mandates,” Liberman said.

The Likud party led by Benjamin Netanyahu was quick to go on the attack after Liberman’s remarks, Israel Hayom reports.

“The cat is out of the bag. Liberman dragged the state to the insanity of repeat elections only because of his desire to be prime minister. Today, he admitted that he desires to be prime minister in a rotation with Gantz,” the Likud said in a statement, referring to Benny Gantz, a former IDF chief of staff and head of the Blue and White party, which won 30 Knesset seats in April, making it the main challenger to the Likud.

Liberman issued a response shortly afterwards, saying there’s no possibility of a rotation with Netanyahu or with Gantz. “There’s no rotation, there’s no need for a rotation. Did I reject the possibility of myself ever becoming prime minister? No. I have the talents and the experience to be prime minister more than any other. But there’s no rotation.”

The Likud nevertheless insisted that Liberman does want a rotation and that his recent comments were evidence of his intentions.

Liberman brought down Netanyahu’s governing coalition in November 2018 when he quit as Defense Minister, arguing that the government wasn’t tough enough against Hamas in Gaza.

The Israel Beiteinu leader than prevented Netanyahu from forming a new coalition following the April elections, leading to a second round of elections scheduled for September 17.

Polls show Liberman strengthening in the polls. If accurate, that means he will again have the ability to decide if Netanyahu can form a government or not.