Avigdor Liberman on Thursday narrowed the options for Benny Gantz even further, as the Blue and White head scrambles to form a government. Speaking to Reshet Bet, Liberman dispelled rumors that have been circulating in recent days that his Yisrael Beytenu party would agree to support a government that the United Arab List was either a part of or supported from the outside.
“It’s clear that the UAL is a fifth column – and I do not mean that rhetorically, but literally,” Liberman said. “Three members of the Balad party have been accused and convicted of security violations. There cannot be a government with these people, and we will not give a certificate of kashrus to this vermin. The UAL does not represent Israeli Arabs. Throughout the entire election campaign we said there was only one option – a unity government. Everything we promised to the voter we will fulfill.”
If there is a third election, it will be the fault of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Liberman said. “There is a clear conflict of interest between Netanyahu and the Knesset. He is interested in elections but his Likud MKs are not. Netanyahu is trying to lead us to another round of elections,” he added.
Gantz is set to meet with UAL head Ayman Odeh on Thursday, as part of his efforts to form a government. Gantz and Liberman met on Monday, as the Blue and White head did with Labor heads Amir Peretz and Orly Levy-Abukasis.
The UAL has previously said that it would not join a Gantz-led government, but that it was willing to lend its votes for its formation, supporting it from outside the coalition. However, in return, the List expects several things – among them chairmanship of the Knesset Finance Committee; an allocation of NIS 64 billion for development of the Arab sector; and a guarantee that the government will negotiate with the Palestinian Authority on a deal that will establish a Palestinian state in all of Yehudah and Shomron. The Finance Committee has been chaired by United Torah Judaism MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni for years.
Other demands posed by Odeh include passing a Basic Law that would guarantee equal rights for Arabs; establishing new industrial zones in Arab areas and preferential treatment for female Arab workers; extra efforts by police to halt crime in the Arab sector; cancellation of the Nation-State Law; and the establishment of a new Arab city, complete with university and hospital.