Lieberman Turns Down Deri Invite to Coalition

YERUSHALAYIM -

The latest attempt to broaden Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s precarious 61-member governing coalition met with a derisive reaction from Yisrael Beitenu leader Avigdor Lieberman, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Shas leader Arye Deri confirmed that he had invited Lieberman to join the coalition, as the latter told his party at a meeting on Sunday.

“I told Deri that I have nothing personal against Netanyahu,” Lieberman said. “It is a principled dispute and in order to join the government, our demands must be fulfilled on matters of security, immigrant absorption, and religion and state.”

Included in the list is destroying Hamas and enacting a death penalty for terrorists.

Lieberman claimed that he has ten separate demands on each of the three issues for a total of 30, and that Netanyahu could “take it or leave it.”

Some of the demands would be patently unacceptable to current coalition members, such as that of drafting more yeshivah students and allowing civil marriages, for Shas and United Torah Judaism.

To test the government’s seriousness about considering his nationalist agenda, Yisrael Beitenu will present a bill to the Knesset on Wednesday that would permit the death penalty for terrorists. But, Lieberman added, he expects the government to prevent its passage.

“This government doesn’t need Purim,” he said mockingly. “It dresses up as a right-wing nationalist government every day.”