In a dramatic interview on Motzoei Shabbos, Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman presented an ultimatum to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and to Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz, saying that if they do not accept compromises in order to form a unity coalition together, he will back the other candidate and give up on his pledge to only support a national unity government.
“Gantz must accept President Rivlin’s plan, which includes a leave of absence for Netanyahu, and Netanyahu should part from his chareidi and messianic bloc,” Liberman told Channel 12 news in an interview.
“I expect both of them to make the right decisions. I intend to appeal to both of them and request a meeting this week. Whoever makes the wrong decision — we will come to our conclusions. Whoever makes the wrong decision — we will support the other side,” Liberman threatened.
With this, Liberman is backtracking once again from all his pre-election promises, of only supporting a unity government and not sitting in an Arab-backed government.
Liberman, sensing that another election is the most feasible in the current state, or that a unity government may be formed with just Likud and Blue and White – without needing to add Yisrael Beytenu, said that “the most important thing for Israel right now is to prevent a third-round election and to establish a unity government. I believe that both parties are responsible” and want what is best for Israel.
Neither Blue and White nor Likud immediately responded to Liberman’s ultimatum but Channel 12 reported that sources in the Likud said that Netanyahu would not give up on his bloc of rightwing and religious parties.