Having refused to join Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's fourth government a week ago, Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman was using his new position in the Opposition on Monday to go on the attack.
Ratcheting up criticism of Netanyahu in Yisrael Beytenu's faction meeting this afternoon, Liberman noted a major source of friction was the lack of attention paid to immigrants in Likud's coalition agreements.
According to Liberman, the decision not to join the government stemmed from Netanyahu's duplicity. He noted that he has been attacked by journalists for allegedly deceiving his voters, who believed he would support a right-wing government, but fought back: "The person who really deceived the voters was Binyamin Netanyahu. He cheated and lied to the immigrant community."
"I heard Netanyahu speak to Russian media about immigrants from the former Soviet Union, promising them heaven and earth," Liberman explained. "But in all the agreements signed with parties, the subjects of absorption and immigration didn't appear."
"The issue of rent, helping immigrants, the importance of immigration – there was no trace of them. This is called deceiving the public. We have his written obligations on record, but this won't help anything."
Stressing his commitment to the immigrant public, Liberman insisted Yisrael Beytenu would serve as a strong member of the Opposition, challenging Netanyahu and the Likud negotiating team on their broken promises.
"We will ask them why the statements made during the elections disappeared from coalition agreement. We'll make them fulfill their promises even from the Opposition," Liberman announced.
"Look at the other parties, who also turned to the immigrant community and promised them heaven and earth. How come they said nothing about immigration and absorption when they sat opposite Likud's negotiating team?" Liberman posed.
The outgoing foreign minister's criticism of Netanyahu then turned even more personal with Liberman asserting he was much closer with Likud ministers and MKs than the Prime Minister himself.
"I have known the system well for years, and I cannot not remember a stronger rage or harsher statements against the leader of the Likud movement then what we have heard in recent days," Liberman added.
At the conclusion of the meeting Liberman pledged: "We represent an alternative – the only responsible alternative to Netanyahu. We have no intention to cooperate with the left-wing opposition. We will be a real alternative to the Right."