Haredi factions blasted Liberman for calling them “anti-Zionist,” while parties on the right and left blamed him for the third round of elections in less than a year.
By World Israel News Staff and TPS
Ultra-Orthodox Members of Knesset (MKs) on Wednesday accused Yisrael Beytenu leader MK Avigdor Liberman of anti-Semitism after his announcement that he would not support a minority government, during which he called the ultra-Orthodox MKs “anti-Zionist.”
Liberman said that the ultra-Orthodox MKs cooperate with the Arab MKs, in an “anti-Zionist coalition that constitutes a real and immediate threat to Israel.”
“Unfortunately, the ultra-Orthodox community and its political parties are becoming more anti-Zionist as time goes on,” he said.
Finance Committee chairman MK Moshe Gafni of the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism (UTJ) party, said that Liberman is “an anti-Semite” who does not belong in the Knesset, calling him a “zero.”
“We do not remember such anti-Semitism in the Knesset, not even from Ahmed Tibi. Does this corrupt man even know what we have done in the Knesset? What has he done in his twenty years in the Knesset? Nothing! He is a zero,” he said.
Gafni added that they would look into the possibility of taking legal action against Liberman over his statements.
Deputy Minister of Health Yaakov Litzman, chairman of UTJ, said Liberman’s speech was full of hate and reminded him of the rhetoric used by Israel’s worst enemies throughout history.
“We witnessed today a disgraceful and ugly horror show issued by Lieberman – full of lies, ignorance and hatred, which resembles the rhetoric of some of the greatest haters of religion and Jewish tradition in history. Unfortunately, it can be said that anti-Semitism has presented itself today,” he said.
MK Yaakov Tesler of UTJ responded to Lieberman’s speech by calling him a “cynical liar.”
“I am not surprised by Lieberman’s wild incitement campaign against the ultra-Orthodox public. This is who he is, an inciter, a liar and a cynic who is interested only in himself and his ugly politics, and does nothing for the benefit of the State of Israel,” he said.
Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, said that Liberman is blaming the ultra-Orthodox parties for the dire political situation because he found himself in a difficult position.
“Liberman attacks us whenever he has a hard time. He told everyone how much he worked towards a unity government and blamed everyone for failing to establish one. Who is really to blame? Only Liberman,” he said.
Meanwhile, MK Merav Michaeli of the left-wing Labor-Gesher party commented that Liberman had “upgraded Netanyahu’s concept to ‘minus Arabs and ultra-Orthodox,” reported Times of Israel.
“Arabs and ultra-Orthodox are part of Israeli society. The leaders of both communities should understand that this is the moment for them to cooperate with the liberal forces and form a government without Netanyahu,” she added.
Likud chairman MK Miki Zohar also weighed in, commenting, “Unfortunately, Liberman’s speech takes us to third elections. His over-the-top lashing of the ultra-Orthodox slams the door on a right-wing government.”