Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman threw open the door Saturday to joining a Labor-HaTnua (Tzipi Livni) coalition government Saturday while keeping his foot in the other door by saying he still could be part of a new Likud government headed by Binyamin Netanyahu.
Political leaders should not be subservient to “electoral interests,” he stated.
That is what he said. He meant just the opposite.
Liberman was more accurate with another remark – that leaders must be ”practical.”
For Liberman, being practical means positioning himself to be prime minister one day. To do so, he must be a slave to his own “electoral interests.”
The idea of Yisrael Beytenu being part of a coalition government headed by the Labor party, which now includes “HaTnua” headed by Livni seems preposterous, and Labor chairman Yitzchak Herzog has not yet responded. He can be expected to say, “We don’t rule out any coalition partners who share our principles.”
Liberman has said over and over and over that Israel has no “peace partner” in Mahmoud Abbas. Herzog and Livni have said over and over and over that the peace process must be revived, even though it is thoroughly impossible, considering that Abbas has ditched it unless Israel is ready to sign on the dotted line to surrender half of Jerusalem and allow the Palestinian Authority to deploy terrorists at Israel’s former borders that would be those of the new Arab country.
Liberman also has demanded that Israel adopt a “loyalty oath,” something that appalls bleeding heart liberals like Herzog and Livni.
So why is Liberman taking a left turn?
He wants to scare Netanyahu and make the Prime Minister realize that without Yisrael Beytenu, he has no chance of forming a new government.
Liberman also is figuring that come March 18, the day after the elections, Livni and Herzog may be able to attract other parties into a coalition that still would be a few shy of the majority of 61 needed to form a new government.
Liberman is announcing he is ready to ride on his white horse. “Hi, ho Silver,” the Messiah has come.
Liberman wants to be needed by Netanyahu and by Labor-Livni, but he is going to lose a lot of seats along the away by being so “practical” and might end up with not much to offer.
Netanyahu might not even need him. If the Jewish Home and Moshe Kahlon’s new Kulanu party score big, the Prime Minister may have the option of filling the gap with the new modern Haredi party that is about to be formed by Eli Yishai.
Liberman is running scared. Yisrael Beytenu is not what it once was. The merger with the Likud before the last elections did not last very long after the votes were counted. Liberman split off to retain his own party, and since then he has been distancing himself from more nationalist Knesset Members such as Agricultural Minister Yair Shamir, son of the late Prime Minister, and Uzi Landau.
Yisrael Beytenu always was and still is the Liberman party, and his opening the door to a Labor-Livni coalition might close the door to his political future.