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Lieberman Warns: We May Take Down the Government

Lieberman threatens to break apart Netanyahu's coalition in response to disagreements, including clash with Shas.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 2/9/2011, 10:03 PM / Last Update: 2/10/2011, 1:12 AM

Flash 90

Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel Our Home) may break the coalition, toppling Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's government, party head and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned Wednesday. His prediction, reported by Channel 10 news, was made in a closed meeting with senior party members.

Lieberman raised the possibility of bringing down the government due to ongoing disagreements. He mentioned the debate over IDF conversions in particular. Yisrael Beiteinu members have proposed a law that would mandate recognition of conversions to Judaism performed under the auspices of the IDF.

The hareidi-religious Shas party has voiced opposition to the bill, and even threatened to walk out of the coalition, leaving Netanyahu without majority support in the Knesset. Shas MKs argue that the law would disrupt the “status quo” regarding laws relating to the Jewish nature of the state.

“We have to reach a decision, and there is likely to be a heavy price to pay. The price may be breaking up the coalition,” Lieberman said. “We need to understand that completing this legislation could lead to early elections.”

Regarding elections, Lieberman stated that he expects Yisrael Beiteinu to get at least 20 mandates, 5 more than it currently holds. “Anything else is a bonus,” he said.

The current coalition is made up of Likud, Yisrael Beiteinu, Shas, Independence, United Torah Judaism, and Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home). Several MKs recently left the coalition when the Labor party split.