Knesset Speaker MK Yuli Edelstein (Likud) said Tuesday that he is mystified by Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman's decision to keep his party out of the Likud-led coalition.
"It is difficult for me to analyze this step,” Edelstein told Army Radio. “I am searching for an answer to the question of why it is happening, and cannot find one. One can be unhappy about something in the basic guidelines of the government that is forming, but even if one says that this is not a natural grouping, a natural government and a natural coalition, I think Israel Beytenu belongs to the government in formation much mnore than to Meretz or the Joint List.”
Liberman “has betrayed his voters,” a senior official in Likud said angrily Tuesday, after Liberman announced Monday that he would not join the coalition currently being formed by Binyamin Netanyahu.
According to Israel Hayom, the official said that Liberman's attacks regarding concessions Netanyahu made to the haredi coalition partners are “baseless.”
After all, he said, Labor leader MK Yitzhak Herzog also agreed to give the haredim the same things, and even the secularist Yesh Atid head, Yair Lapid, has expressed his willingness to join a government with haredim: “If you want to lower the demands for joining the coalition, the only way is to change the system of government – a move the prime minister has announced he would advance, and that he intends to advance.”
"Liberman is the last person on earth who can preach to us about opportunism,” added the official. “This is a cynical politician, the greatest opportunist of them all, who planned a 'putsch' against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in the previous government, and sought to be tapped as the compromise candidate after the elections.
"The clear result of the elections, in which Likud received 30 seats, caused Liberman's machinations to fail and his plans to fail,” the senior source accused. “That is why he is now trying to cause the political system to fall into the hands of a leftist government headed by Buji Herzog.” Liberman, he charged, "is operating in the service of foreign interests in the Land of Israel and abroad, and in direct contravention of promises he gave his voters, to support a nationalist government."