Avigdor Liberman
Avigdor Liberman Arutz Sheva

Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman took a shot at opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, claiming in an interview with Channel 12 News that members of Netanyahu’s Likud party regretted the fact that they listened to the former Prime Minister.

"I think he has run out of magic tricks," said Liberman. "In the last three days that we have been in the Knesset [voting on the budget], almost all the Likud Knesset members approached me and said, 'We were idiots for listening to him and not passing a budget.' The period of obedience over there has ended."

"I saw Netanyahu. I have known him for several years," the Finance Minister continued. "I saw a man without fervor and without vigor. It is not by chance that he erred six or seven times in the votes, and it is not by chance that he sat with his head buried in a book. His head was elsewhere."

Liberman rejected accusations that the budget specifically targets and harms the haredi population, stressing that he is proud of the budget that was approved.

"It really is not directed against anyone," he argued. "The haredim are harmed because of the leadership of Shas and United Torah Judaism. The ones who harm and keep them in poverty are only the heads of these parties. They are fighting not only against the prices of paper cutlery, but also against studies of core subjects. They know that a person who has an education and a profession is not dependent on allowances and donations. They are running to justify their public as being poor and ignorant."

Liberman went on to reject the idea that the haredim would be added to the current coalition, amid reports that haredi leaders are also frustrated with Netanyahu’s conduct.

"When I went to the election, I set my two goals: To replace the government and its leader, and to form a coalition without Shas and United Torah Judaism. I do not intend to break what I promised," he stressed.

Liberman was also asked whether the government will complete its term and replied, "Undoubtedly, I am also confident in the rotation of Lapid-Bennett."

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)