Avigdor Lieberman Kills Last Chance for Gantz Government

  • There are various issues which Lieberman has in joining a minority government with Netanyahu.
  • Lieberman refused to join a minority government including religious or Arab parties.
  • After Indictment proceedings are completed there is a possibility of forming a new government with or without Netanyahu.

At 2:00 Israel time, Avigdor Lieberman, head of the Yisrael Beiteinu party, announced that he refuses to join any minority government, whether it be the minority government of Benjamin Netanyahu or the minority government of Benny Gantz.

Benjamin “Benny” Gantz (born 9 June 1959) is an Israeli politician. He served as the 20th Chief of General Staff of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) from 2011 to 2015. In December 2018, he established a new political party named Israel Resilience. The party later allied itself with Telem and Yesh Atid to form Blue and White, the colours of the Israeli national flag.

He blames both Gantz and Netanyahu for causing Israel to go to elections for the third time in one year. The time is running out for Gantz, at 12:00 midnight, and it looks like it will be impossible for him to reach the required 61 mandates to make a government with him as Prime Minister.

The solution of Netanyahu and Gantz sharing the Prime Minister position required both sides to agree on certain conditions, on which they were unable to reach an agreement. Since Netanyahu is currently under indictment for bribery, until the final court decision, Netanyahu has refused to join a national unity government with Gantz, which Liberman supports without any conditions. There are various issues which Lieberman has in joining a minority government with Netanyahu, giving the religious parties who he called today Anti-Zionist power in legislation, pressuring the secular Israelis to adopt religious values.

There is a new draft legislation on the table in the Knesset which would draft religious students to enter the IDF, like all other Israelis. Lieberman feels it is not democratic to exclude them from their obligation to the State of Israel. Lieberman and the religious parties, Shas and United Torah Judaism, tried to reach a compromise but Lieberman refuses to amend the legislation which is on the table in the Knesset.

There are also issues of other leniencies on conversion for Russian immigrants who have Israeli status but are not accepted as Jews by the Orthodox Religious congress, which supervises over marriage and divorce. Other differences which Lieberman has with Netanyahu and his supporters are allowing busing on the Sabbath and for grocery stores to remain open. All these issues stopped Lieberman from supporting Netanyahu, and until indictment procedures are completed, Netanyahu cannot join a national unity government, which his religious supporters will refuse to join.

The hope of Netanyahu receiving the required mandates in new elections is almost zero. The situation will return again, with Gantz and Netanyahu having to work out an agreement between them which will satisfy all sides.  There is a possibility that Netanyahu will get indicted, and that the next election results will change drastically.

There will be a new leader of Likud if Netanyahu gets indicted. Gantz was hesitant to accept a partnership with Netanyahu on his conditions without finishing the indictment proceedings.  Avigdor Lieberman had the possibility of making the government with Gantz as Prime Minister, including the United Arab List, and refused to support this type of minority government for security reasons. 

Yekusiel Yehuda III Teitelbaum, known by the Yiddish colloquial name Zalman Leib, is one of two Grand Rebbes of Satmar, and the son of Grand Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum, the late Rebbe of the Satmar Hasidim. In keeping with the traditional beliefs of Satmar, Teitelbaum is a strong opponent of Zionism.

In the meantime, right on schedule, the leader of Anti-Zionism in the Jewish world, Rabbi Zalman Leib Teitelbaum, has arrived for a short visit from America. The Williamsburg, New York-based rabbi received a big greeting from his supporters in Israel, and they celebrated last night in the center of the religious neighborhood of Meah Shearim and Geula. The strict followers of Rabbi Teitelbaum do not vote in elections. Some refuse to receive money from the government, especially for education.

Those Ultra-Orthodox that are part of the government and sit in the Knesset have broken off from the mainstream of Orthodox Judaism, which was once under the supervision of the Ultra-Orthodox Rabbinical Court the Eida Charedit. Avigdor Lieberman still calls them Anti-Zionists even if they are part and represented in the Knesset.

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David Wexelman

Author of 5 books on the internet on topics of Jewish mysticism, managing two websites. www.progressivejewishspirituality.net

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