Bibi 'Won't Take Liberman Back Even If He Asks'

Liberman's surprise decision to bolt the coalition is connected to Israel Hayom saga, says analyst.

Gil Ronen ,

Avigdor Liberman
Avigdor Liberman
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has reportedly told people in recent days that he will not take the resigning foreign minister, Avigdor Liberman, back into his coalition, even if Liberman changes his mind and decides to be a part of the government.

Writing in Makor Rishon, Ze'ev Kam reported Friday that Netanyahu told MKs: “There is no way back, as far as I am concerned. We're done with him. Attack him at any opportunity you get.” An MK who spoke with Netanyahu said he had never seen Netanyahu talking the way he is now. “Liberman cannot go back to being foreign minister, or any minister, not even a year from now,” estimated the MK.

Also in Makor Rishon, Amit Segal noted that remarkably, of the 61 coalition MKs, not a single one voted in favor of the Israel Hayom bill, which was intended to shut down the freebie newspaper that is generally supportive of Netanyahu, unlike the rest of the printed press. Segal adds that all of the MKs who are currently in the opposition voted for the law, except members of the "ideological” Meretz faction.

Liberman's decision not join the coalition is connected to the ill-fated bill, explained Segal. It was Liberman who initiated the bill, which would have robbed Netanyahu of a favorable daily newspaper. The coalition agreement specifies that no such bill will be advanced by coalition members, and Liberman could not bring himself to sign that "surrender clause," according to the analyst.

Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett voted against the bill but was one of its sponsors. He said at the time that "Israel Hayom is not a newspaper. It is Pravda,” referring to the Soviet publication. “It’s the mouthpiece of one person, the Prime Minister. At every junction point, every point of friction between the national interest and the interest of the Prime Minister, they chose the side of the Prime Minister. I very much hope that Makor Rishon will be allowed to continue to hold an independent nationalist position.”

Israel Hayom has been targeted by a new  which would attempt to force the paper, which is currently distributed free of charge, to charge money, thus making it less popular and influential.

The Jewish Home party  the bill that limits the nationalist paper, reportedly to put pressure on Netanyahu.