Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and then Defense Minister Acigdor Liberman, October 24, 2017.

Former defense minister and Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Liberman on Saturday predicted that the Likud would win in the upcoming elections, but Netanyahu would not succeed in forming a government should the attorney general announce his indictment before the April 9 elections.

Liberman told voters in Mevaseret Zion, outside Jerusalem, that Netanyahu could reach a plea bargain even before the elections.

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“The Likud will win the elections, but it is reasonable to assume that if an indictment is filed against him before the elections, his chances of forming a new government are near zero,” Liberman said about the prime minister, and continued: “Therefore, I do not rule out the possibility that Netanyahu will reach a plea bargain before the elections.”

Liberman also spoke harshly against the New Right party chairman Naftali Bennett, saying he would be the first to stick a knife in Bibi’s back.

“Anyone who doubts this is invited to personally call Naftali Bennett and ask him if he is willing to promise that in the event of an indictment, he will Netanyahu to the president to form the next government,” Liberman said.

“It is clear to me that Bennett never forgave Netanyahu anything, especially the smear he did at the Walla website against his wife and his father. The first person to stick a knife in Netanyahu’s back will stand in front of the cameras and speak passionately about the rule of law and moral standards.”

Liberman added: “Some of the other potential partners will also do the same. In my estimation, they are waiting for Netanyahu behind the corner on the legal issue. They stuttered about it before the elections and are trying to avoid it during the election campaign itself, and it will remain so until April 9. But the next day, they will jump up and say with great pathos that it is impossible for someone accused of criminal activity to form the government.”

“Therefore, I do not rule out the possibility that Netanyahu will eventually go to a plea bargain like the one signed by former president Ezer Weizman – retirement to Caesarea in return for not being prosecuted,” Liberman said, noting that “if such an agreement is signed, the Likud will have to choose an heir even before the elections. In such a case, we are likely to have a shake-up which it isn’t clear how it will end.”

The New Right issued a response to Liberman’s remarks, saying: “As the public has long understood, MK Liberman is an unrelenting talker. The terrorist Ismail Haniyeh, who is still waiting patiently for the end of his 48-hour ultimatum, will testify to that. We stand behind our position to recommend Netanyahu to the president to form the government.”

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