Netanyahu Slams Agreement between Gantz, Lieberman
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he doesn’t rule out the formation of an expanded government that would basically include Likud party’s “natural partners,” right-wing and Haredi parties.
Netanyahu’s comments appear to be part of a front-line arrangement against Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu and Benny Gantz’s Kahol Lavan (Blue and White) announcement on Tuesday of signing a surplus vote agreement ahead of Israel's September 17 election.
The Premier slammed the agreement, noting that Lieberman is working on the formation of a left-wing government.
“Lapid and Gantz signed with Lieberman, it is in fact a new thing,” Netanyahu wrote on his Facebook page, mocking the situation.
Likud slammed the two parties for the deal they struck. “Lieberman signed a surplus vote agreement with Lapid and Gantz after declaring openly that he would support them should they gain the premiership,” a statement by the party said.
“Whoever wants Netanyahu to head the next government should vote only for the Likud,” the statement added.
Lieberman described the agreement as a mere technical measure, not an alliance or coalition between the two political groups.
However, Israeli media said the agreement was ultimately aimed at recommending Gantz as prime minister, after Lieberman demanded that Netanyahu form a government that would include his party, Likud and Blue and White.
Beiteinu, meanwhile, called the agreement a “mere technical matter” and stated that they “will not risk losing a Knesset seat.”
“This agreement is normal and whoever criticizes it doesn’t have the right after surrendering to the reality imposed by the factions in Gaza and paying money to Hamas,” referring to Netanyahu and Likud.
Netanyahu has earlier refused the idea of a unified government along with Gantz, who said he would accept it if it doesn’t include Netanyahu.
This agreement boosts a possible post-election alliance between Gantz and Lieberman, whose party would balance between the right-wing Likud-led and other Blue and White parties.
The electoral race in Israel has been raging between Likud and Blue and White.
Opinion polls show that Likud and Blue and White retain their positions with a single seat in favor of Likud party.