Avigdor Lieberman, leader of the Yisael Beytenu and holder of the political balance in the aftermath of Monday’s (March 2) elections.
The Jerusalem Post reports that “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suffered a blow on Thursday afternoon when Yisrael Beytenu leader Avidgor Lieberman endorsed Blue and White leader Benny Gantz’s efforts to pass a law that would prevent and indicted MK from forming a government.”
Mr. Netanyahu therefore seems to be in a much tougher position than he seemed to be in the aftermath of Monday’s elections.
Lieberman’s ultimate goal is to topple Netanyahu.
I was personally under the impression that the Soviet-born leader – who once worked as a bouncer in his younger days – would play the kingmaker for Netanyahu (who is short of 3 seats to form a government), but it appears that “Lieberman’s ultimate goal is to topple Netanyahu”, confided a well-informed source close to Israel’s political circles.
From now on, the two options are either the formation of a national unity government, with a rotation in the Prime Minister’s chair, a scenario that seems to be ruled out by the leader of the Likud, or new elections, which would be the fourth round within a year. With both blocs (Netanyahu’s and the opposition led by Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party) pretty unmovable in their positions, it would be foolish to discard the latter option, according to the same source.
Netanyahu is a fighter and probably the smartest guy in the world.
But don’t count Netanyahu out yet. “He’s a fighter and probably the smartest guy in the world”, declares my source.
Today’s events are a turning point in Israeli politics and Monday night’s foregone conclusion that PM Netanyahu’s victory would permit him to stay in office appears more elusive as every hour goes by.
Breaking news reporting that Lieberman might recommend Benny Gantz for Prime Minister confirms my conviction that Israeli politics is one of the most fascinating in the world.
But my feeling is that one shouldn’t count Netanyahu out yet. He has more than one trick up his sleeve.