Netanyahu demands 'straight answer' from Liberman on coalition

PM presses Avidgor Liberman to publicly commit to opposing formation of minority government relying on Arab lawmakers.

Hezki Baruch ,


Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu challenged former Defense Minister Avidgor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) to publicly commit to opposing the formation of a left-wing minority government led by Blue and White which relies on the predominantly Arab Joint List party to remain in power.

In a video statement released Thursday evening, Netanyahu called on Liberman, head of the secular rightist Yisrael Beytenu party, to give a “straight answer” on whether he would help Blue and White form a government which would rely on the tacit support of the Joint List party.

“I really believe that that we don’t need to have another election. We can form a national unity government. But before my meeting with Avidgor Liberman, I want to ask him a simple question, and to get a straight answer,” said Netanyahu.

“Will you and your party vote against the formation of a government which relies on the support – or the tacit support – of MKs from the Arab Joint List, which you condemned as a ‘fifth column’?”

“I want to know the truth. Are you really prepared to endanger Israel’s security with the establishment of a government which relies on [MKs] Ahmed Tibi and Ayman Odeh? No more of these dangerous games. Give me a straight answer – yes or no.”

Netanyahu’s video statement was released after Liberman met with Blue and White chief Benny Gantz Thursday, and ahead of a planned meeting between Liberman and the Prime Minister this coming Sunday.

Gantz, who was tapped by President Reuven Rivlin to form a new government, has less than a week left to complete that task. While he may request an extension from the president, it is unclear if Rivlin will grant the request.