Haredi strategy: Don’t attack, but reveal Liberman’s hypocrisy

“Liberman wants a fight with the haredim,” a haredi, or ultra-Orthodox, party source said. “We won’t give it to him.”

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The ultra-Orthodox parties are intent on thwarting Avigdor Liberman’s strategy to portray himself as the savior of secular Israel in the upcoming elections. But they won’t attack him head-on. Instead, they hope to expose his hypocrisy by revealing how often he has worked with them in the past, Israel Hayom reported Monday.

“In the past half year alone, Avigdor Liberman has called the ultra-Orthodox extortionists, swindlers and extremists; he has accused them of trying to establish a country run by Jewish law; he has labeled their demands ‘complete madness’; and has compared them to Hamas, and the rabbinate to the Inquisition,” Yehuda Shlezinger noted in Israel Hayom.

On Saturday night, in an interview with Israel’s Channel 13, Liberman said that he would work towards an emergency national unity government that would keep the religious parties out of the coalition.

Concerned that responding with attacks on Liberman would only gain him more votes, the haredi parties will instead counter by portraying the former defense minister as a hypocrite when it comes to issues of religion and state, a source from one of the ultra-orthodox parties told Israel Hayom.

“Liberman wants a fight with the haredim,” the source explained. “We won’t give it to him. He wants us to attack him so that the conversation will be about supermarkets [opening on the Sabbath] and all those arguments, but …. he is lying to his constituency and we’re going to expose it.”

“There hasn’t been a greater friend than Liberman over recent years,” the source continued. “He worked against [secular mayoral candidate Ofer] Berkowitz in Jerusalem, and worked with us on many other projects. When he needed to, he also knew how to enter a government that said it wouldn’t advance common-law partnerships. It’s all nonsense with him.”

Besides publicizing all the laws on which the secular and ultra-religious parties had worked together and the municipal campaigns in which they cooperated, the haredi parties will also post pictures of Liberman visiting their rabbinic leaders over the past year.