Former Defense Minister Lieberman: religious parties threaten Zionism

Yisrael Beiteinu Party Chairman Avigdor Lieberman announced his decision to honor the clear choice that was made by the Israeli public to grant Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with an additional mandate to lead the Jewish State.

In a party event that was held in Jerusalem’s Bible Lands Museum, the former Israeli Defense Minister stressed that in accordance with the country’s decision, he will recommend the incumbent Prime Minister to President Reuven Rivlin, effectively paving the way for Netanyahu’s his fifth term in office. “The country has decided, and we need to honor the decision. So, we will act according to the country’s decision. First of all, tomorrow, at the president’s, we will recommend Benjamin Netanyahu as the candidate to form the government,” Lieberman said.

While Lieberman’s decision to back Netanyahu grants the latter the 61 seats necessary to receive the President’s mandate to form the next government; the choice did not come without reservations. The former Israeli Defense Minister voiced deep concern regarding the Ultra-Orthodox and religious factions, that almost doubled their mandates in the April 9th elections. The Yisrael Beitenu Chairman warned that he views their increased influence as “a threat to the ideals of (Zionist revisionist leader Ze’ev) Jabotinsky,” who is the historic figure regarded as the “ideological father” of Israel’s conservative right, whose closest protégé, Menachem Begin, ultimately formed the Likud party, which is headed today by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Lieberman reassured his followers that he is taking his concerns into account, amid his party’s negotiations with Netanyahu’s ruling Likud.