A rumor started by a Channel 13 reporter that Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman was planning a secret meeting with Blue and White number two Yair Lapid is just that, said MK Oded Forer of Liberman’s party. “This supposed meeting between Lapid and Liberman is happening only in the imaginations of certain people,” he told Army Radio. “It’s equivalent to the paranoid suspicions that someone is cooking up a national unity government with Benny Gantz.”
The rumor was engendered by a trip Liberman began on Thursday to Vienna, where he planned to meet friends and financial backers. Yair Lapid, meanwhile, left for a vacation to Paris – but according to reports, he was to make a stopover in Vienna, supposedly to discuss the possibility of Liberman’s pushing for a national unity government with Likud and Blue and White, freezing out religious and chareidi parties.
Channel 13’s Raviv Drucker said in a social media post that he had a “wild thought. Without Liberman, Netanyahu has no coalition. What if he said he would only join a unity government without the chareidim? He wouldn’t have to seek out the Defense Ministry again, and he could concentrate on his social agenda. He would get a lot of public accolade, and Netanyahu would have no choice but to go along. Checkmate!”
During the campaign, Liberman said that his conditions for joining a new Netanyahu-led coalition would be the adoption of a policy to eliminate Hamas, raising pension payments for the elderly, and the implementation of a new draft law. Forer said Friday that the latter was a condition of the party’s joining the coalition. “So far no one from the Likud has spoken to us, it is not clear how they are going to learn our conditions. The draft law is one of those conditions,” adding that he was not concerned with chareidi opposition to the law, because “we are negotiating with the Likud, not the chareidim.”