Whatever chances there might have been of Avigdor Liberman joining a coalition with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu were vaporized in a wild attack by the Yisrael Beytenu leader on Monday.
In an Erev Yom Kippur interview with Maariv, Liberman described PM Netanyahu as a tyrannical figure impossible to work with.
“Bibi’s problem is that as soon as you have an approach or attitude that is different to his, and it contradicts his interests, you immediately become a personal enemy. You are immediately accused of hating the prime minister, that you are a leftist, that you are trying to bring him down. Ignoring the facts.
“I would not be surprised if Netanyahu and his people are using private investigators against me and against my family. That is their way to threaten. To my regret, Bibi is not capable of understanding concepts such as friendship and loyalty,” Liberman said.
He had no kinder words for other Likud officials, calling Culture Minister Miri Regev a “vulgar beast” and Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz “a miserable liar,” and dismissed the Likud party in general as “a collection of apparatchiks” who are exploiting the party as “a platform for a personal political career.”
Regev hit back, claiming that Liberman is “the most hated person, the person who caused us great damage and political chaos in the past year… is holding a whole country hostage. All he cares about is his ego,” referring to his refusal to join the Likud-led coalition after the April elections.
Katz’s office put out a statement saying that “Liberman is angry that his lies were exposed and his involvement in the plot after the April election – to give Netanyahu’s mandate to [Blue and White leader Benny] Gantz while breaking his promises to the voters to support Prime Minister Netanyahu – was revealed.”
There was no immediate reaction from the prime minister.
Meanwhile, Yamina chairwoman Ayelet Shaked held out hope that Liberman can be brought back into the right-wing bloc.
“The best thing is if the right can form a government on its own, and our preference is that Liberman will join the government, but right now he’s not willing.
“We are not willing to split up our bloc of 55 right-wing MKs right now, and that’s an important pact. Liberman needs to act maturely and return to the right, and that will be the best government. But if Liberman doesn’t return to the right and join us, the other option is a government with Blue and White, to prevent another round of elections,” she was quoted as saying by Arutz Sheva.