Netanyahu and Liberman
Netanyahu and LibermanHadas Parush, Flash 90

The Likud on Sunday strongly rejected Yisrael Beytenu Chairman Avigdor Liberman's claim that he changed his political positions over the budgetary deficit.

"Liberman was not aware of the deficit? He made demands in the billions during coalition negotiations," senior party sources said.

They added that the demands of Liberman and his colleagues in Yisrael Beytenu in the framework of the coalition negotiations stood at NIS 2.5 billion - NIS 2 billion for pensions and other demands such as positions and more.

Likud spokesman Yonatan Urich also referred to the issue in a Tweet, writing: "Less than a month ago, Liberman threw out budgetary demands of at least NIS 3 billion. Suddenly he is worried about the deficit and sends Forer to stammer on the radio, ‘Wow, we didn’t know there was a deficit’? Come on Ivet, when you wanted dozens of positions for ambassadors, you didn’t know it costs money? Ivet just wants to topple Netanyahu, and if it comes at the price of a left-wing government, he’s paying."

Liberman explained this morning on Facebook, ““What changed? Two things: 1. It turned out that the State of Israel is in the midst of a deep budgetary crisis with a deficit of more than NIS 50 billion, and security challenges for which this is not the place to elaborate. 2. It is clear to me, beyond any doubt, that Likud and Blue and White won’t together have 60 Knesset seats in the upcoming elections, and each will prefer to form a narrow government with the haredim, ie. a halachic government."

"I have recently noted that we saw a shameful race between Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz in the past week, over which one can flatter the haredim more. Netanyahu has already failed to form a government at the moment. Furthermore, he is so far unsuccessful in bridging the gaps between Bezalel Smotrich and Rafi Peretz regarding the distribution of portfolios in the transitional government. Benny Gantz too, alone, has no chance of forming a government, despite the effort to appease Shas and United Torah Judaism," Liberman said.