Israel’s former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman slammed Blue and White leader Benny Gantz and MP Gabi Ashkenazi, saying that both men, who served as chiefs of staff, are “not smart” and their arrogance prevents them from taking advice from those more skilled in politics, such as himself.
Lieberman, in an interview with the Maariv daily, said that Blue and White has lost the chance to get rid of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rule in Israel.
Lacking political wisdom, the party has become a personal tool used by Netanyahu to escape trial, he added.
When asked about the possibility Gantz will eventually replace Netanyahu at the helm in a year and a half as part of a rotation agreement, Lieberman said that Netanyahu will make Gantz’s life “a living hell” until he will “resign on his own accord.”
Lieberman, the leader of the Yisrael Beytenu party, was speaking at a time when negotiations to form a government had failed, because Netanyahu had at the last minute backed away from his agreement with Gantz.
After deal to form government was said to be close, Gantz’s party accused Netanyahu’s Likud of seeking to renegotiate understandings.
“After reaching understandings on all issues, the Likud party asked to re-open discussions regarding the committee to appoint judges. In light of this, negotiations have been halted. We will not allow any change in the functioning of the judiciary nor damage to democracy,” Blue and White said in a statement.
Netanyahu and Gantz, however, have agreed to resume negotiations again after Easter.
Lieberman pointed out that Netanyahu's goal now is to end Gantz's appointment to head the government, which ends after three days.
“I will not be surprised if I see Gantz's party broken in the upcoming elections,” Lieberman said.
When asked about the possibility that Netanyahu might annex the Jordan Valley, or perhaps parts of the West Bank under the so-called Deal of the Century offered by US President Donald Trump, Lieberman said that the only goal Netanyahu has is to reach the needed 63-64 voices he needs in the Knesset to pass any legislation he needs to avoid standing trial.
Netanyahu was meant to begin trial for alleged corruption and breach of trust in March, but after Justice Minister Amir Ohana shut down the regular functions of the courts due to COVID-19, the date had been postponed to May.