"Netanyahu can't even make a unity gov't without me"

'Likud and Blue & White can't even get 61 seats together,' says Avidgor Liberman. "And I won't sit with haredim and 'Messianic' Rightists".

David Rosenberg ,

Avigdor Liberman
Avigdor Liberman
Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

The Likud and Blue and White parties will be unable to form a unity government on their own – even if a deal can be reached to bring them together – former Defense Minister Avidgor Liberman said Tuesday afternoon.

Speaking with Walla! News, the Yisrael Beytenu chairman predicted that despite currently holding a combined 70 seats in the 120-member Knesset, following the September 17th election, the Likud and Blue and White parties would be unable to reach a 61-seat majority on their own to form a unity government.

“I’m certain that no unity government will be possible before I [join],” said Liberman. “There’s no chance the Likud and the Blue and White party will get to 61 seats.”

Liberman also vowed not to join a narrow right-wing – religious government, calling Netanyahu’s likely right-wing coalition partners “Messianics”.

“I won’t be a party of a narrow government. I won’t sit in a government with haredim or the ‘Messianics’.”

The former Defense Minister denied his rhetoric against haredi lawmakers made him ‘anti-haredi’.

“I’m not against haredim, I’m against religious coercion.”

“Netanyahu has made himself the hostage of Litzman and Gafni, and he gave them everything,” Liberman continued, referring to Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman and Knesset Finance Committee chief Moshe Gafni, both of the United Torah Judaism party.

Liberman, whose Yisrael Beytenu party won five seats in the April 9th election – its poorest showing since the party split off from the National Union ahead of the 2006 election – blocked Prime Minister Netanyahu from forming a new government this spring, after the right-wing – religious bloc won a 65 to 55 seat majority in the Knesset.

Demanding the new coalition vow to pass a haredi draft law drawn up at his behest, Liberman refused to join the government when his demand was rejected, turning down offers to pass a modified version of the bill.

New polls, however, not only show Yisrael Beytenu gaining support ahead of the snap election; they also suggest Liberman’s prediction that the Likud and Blue and White will be unable to reach 61 seats on their own may be correct.

Four of the last six polls show the Likud and Blue and White winning less than 61 seats combined – forcing them to bring in other parties to form a unity government – assuming they agree to sit together in the same coalition.