Liberman Tilts Toward Gantz, Netanyahu Says He’s Already There

YERUSHALAYIM -
Yisrael Beytenu Chairman Avigdor Liberman speaking at a campaign event in Tel Aviv, Tuesday. (Tomer Neuberg/ Flash90)

Yisrael Beytenu chief Avigdor Liberman has tilted toward Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party, provoking a sharp response from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday.

Liberman said he will only recommend for prime minister someone who supports the formation of a national unity government after the September 17 elections. While he did not endorse Gantz in so many words, he did say that he might do so if PM Netanyahu remains allied with the chareidi parties.

Netanyahu struck back, seeking to turn the threatened endorsement of Gantz against him:

“Yesterday in an interview on Army Radio, Liberman said he would recommend Benny Gantz to be prime minister. He wants Gantz to be prime minister. Those who vote for Liberman are essentially voting for a left-wing government: Ehud Barak as defense minister, Yair Lapid as foreign minister,” PM Netanyahu charged at a campaign event for Russian speakers in Rishon LeTzion.

Meanwhile, Liberman continued his anti-religious campaign, saying on Tuesday that in the next coalition talks his party will demand public transport on Shabbos, civil marriage and a law drafting chareidim into the military.