Prime Minister and Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu and Yisrael Beitenu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman met this morning for the first time since the September 17th elections, as part of Netanyahu’s efforts to form a government.
The talks follow the decision by Blue and White Chairman Benny Gantz to freeze all negotiations on a possible unity government, after the long-time ruling Likud party was said to have refused his faction’s preconditions.
Instead of meeting with Gantz, Netanyahu held consultations with leaders his right-wing ultra-Orthodox bloc, who reportedly unanimously approved today’s conference with Lieberman. Consequently, the Incumbent Prime Minister called his former Defense Minister last night, when he reportedly told him that “There is no point in wasting the country’s time,” and that a discussion between the two leaders was vital to evaluate whether their strategizing a path forward was viable so a decision can be made.
Following their phone conversation, Avigdor Lieberman reiterated in a post published on his Facebook page that: “All of our efforts are to establish a national unity government that consists of three parties – Yisrael Beitenu, Likud and Blue and White.” The statement continued that “This position was clarified before the elections, during the elections, and after the elections, and also today after the meeting of our party leadership.”
Lieberman further underscored that Yisrael Beitenu “will not partner with any other government formation.”
After the conclusion of this morning’s Netanyahu-Lieberman summit, a Likud official told TV7 that “no breakthrough had been achieved.”
A source at Yisrael Beitenu informed TV7 that Netanyahu seems to be “preparing the ground” to return his mandate to form the next government back to President Reuven Rivlin, and that the “wide gaps” between the Likud and Blue and White parties “lessens the viability” of an emerging unity government. The source also echoed his party leader’s unwavering position, in which: “the only way to assure Israel’s security and peace, both domestic and global,” is to “bridge the gaps and form a national unity government.”