“If there is no breakthrough by Yom Kippur, Israel Beytenu will present its own proposal,” said Liberman. Netanyahu then invited Liberman for talks.
By World Israel News Staff
MK Avigdor Liberman, the former defense minister who refused to join a government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after the April 9 Knesset election, leading to another national vote in September, says he will submit his own proposal for a national unity government if current talks between Netanyahu’s Likud party and Blue and White, headed by MK Benny Gantz, do not bear fruit in the coming week.
Netanyahu, with permission from his right-wing and ultra-Orthodox coalition partners, then invited Liberman to speak on Thursday at the Prime Minister’s office.
“There is no point in wasting the country’s time. We will meet and see if it is serious or not and decide based on that,” Netanyahu reportedly said to Liberman.
Liberman, who has been dubbed a kingmaker because of his ability to give Netanyahu a Knesset majority if he would join the incumbent premier, ran on a platform for the September 17 vote that promoted the formation of a broad-based unity government of Likud and Blue and White, the two largest parliamentary representations, comprising a majority of their own without needing smaller religious and right-wing parties which are Netanyahu’s allies.
He leads the Israel Beytenu party, which won eight seats in the September ballot. His slogan has been that he supports Israel as a Jewish state but not run by religious law.
“If there is no breakthrough by Yom Kippur, Israel Beytenu will present its own proposal to Likud and Blue and White,” Liberman said in a statement on Wednesday.
Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, will be marked next Tuesday night and Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Netanyahu met with leaders of his bloc of right-wing and religious parties to discuss the future of negotiations to form a unity government after talks with Blue and White hit a snag.
Likud and Blue and White teams were supposed to meet on Wednesday as were Netanyahu and Gantz. However, Blue and White called off both meetings.
Likud cabinet ministers Yariv Levin and Ze’ev Elkin, who have been leading the party’s negotiating team, argued that Blue and White’s team canceled the latest meeting because its second-ranking MK Yair Lapid does not want faction leader Gantz to reach a rotation agreement with Netanyahu, because he wants such an agreement with Gantz himself, in a government without Netanyahu.
When Blue and White was being put together before the April Knesset election, Gantz and Lapid agreed to rotate the premiership if they win the election.
Netanyahu’s meeting on Wednesday with his allies ended with the party leaders agreeing to continue working together.