Liberman ups the rhetoric against Netanyahu following dissolution of government

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman speaking in the Knesset in Jerusalem, Feb. 19, 2018. (Hadas Parush/Flash90) 

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Yisrael Beiteinu party leader Avigdor Liberman slammed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud Party for putting the onus on him for the dissolution of the Knesset and new national elections.

Early Thursday morning, following the Knesset vote to disperse the 51-day-old 20th Knesset and go to new elections, Netanyahu slammed Liberman to reporters after exiting the Knesset plenum.

“Avigdor Liberman is now part of the left. He brings down right-wing governments. Don’t believe him again. I will tell you about it tomorrow. Maybe I will tell you some things you don’t know. He deceived the electorate just to get votes,” Netanyahu charged.

Earlier Liberman pinned the blame for the new elections squarely on Netanyahu and his Likud Party.

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“Unfortunately, Israel is going to repeat elections because of the refusal of the Likud and the ultra-Orthodox parties to accept our proposal and to vote on the draft law in second and third readings in the original version,” Liberman said. “This is a surrender to the ultra-Orthodox. We are part of a right-wing government, but we will not be part of a halachic government.”

At a news conference on Thursday morning, Liberman increased the rhetoric, suggesting that it is Netanyahu who is the leftist.

“The man from Caesarea is calling the man from (the West Bank settlement of) Nokdim a leftist,” Liberman said.

“I want to remind the prime minister that it was him who voted for the disengagement from Gaza, apologized to the (Turkish) dictator Erdogan and refused the death penalty and the evacuation of Khan El-Ahmar, and in response to 700 rockets transferred $30 million to Hamas,” he said.

Liberman also suggested that Netanyahu’s son Yair requires the services of a psychiatrist after he tweeted early Thursday morning that Netanyahu chose an attorney general in 2009 based on his willingness to exonerate Liberman in criminal cases against him.

Liberman asserted that he would not nominate Blue and White Party head Benny Gantz to form the next government and suggested that he would not recommend Netanyahu either.