Liberman: Better Netanyahu than Lapid

Yisrael Beytenu leader vows to support Netanyahu as PM in next Knesset.

Gary Willig,

Avigdor Liberman and Binyamin Netanyahu sign coalition deal
Avigdor Liberman and Binyamin Netanyahu sign coalition deal
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) reiterated his support for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu over his rivals for the premiership Thursday.

The defense minister promised that he would recommend Netanyahu for prime minister when the next elections are held and would prefer Netanyahu over Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid in an interview with Makor Rishon.

In the interview, which will be published in its entirety Friday, Liberman said that his relations with the prime minister are "good and normal. There is daily work, and now I hope we have overcome the past issues and look forward."

Liberman believes that the current coalition will serve out its current term and that the next elections will not be held early "as long as there is no haredi frenzy like we have seen in recent months. This is the only threat to the coalition."

In response to a question as to whether he would consider Netanyahu as the national camp's candidate for prime minister in the next elections, Liberman replied that he assumes the answer would be yes, but that the question depends on Netanyahu's decision on whether or not to seek reelection. If the choice is between Lapid and Netanyahu as prime minister, Liberman said he prefers Netanyahu "and there is no question at all."

Relations between Liberman and Netanyahu were strained after the previous coalition collapsed in 2015, and Yisrael Beytenu began serving in the opposition. Their relations have improved since Liberman was approved as Defense Minister in 2016.

The haredi political parties have also thrown their support behind Netanyahu over Lapid, who is Netanyahu's closest rival for the premiership according to recent polls.

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