Avigdor Liberman, head of Yisrael Beytenu party, tweeted on Saturday that he was willing to form a political coalition with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu if the premier agreed to "separate from his 'natural' partners."
Liberman was referring to the ultra-Orthodox and religious far-right parties that are currently sitting in Netanyahu's government.
The former defense minister, who previously served in several of Netanyahu's governments, used to be a close political ally until he lost confidence in the premier in 2019. His refusal to join Netanyahu's coalition at the time, contributed to the several rounds of inconclusive elections in which neither block – pro-Netanyahu or anti-Netanyahu – was able to form a viable government.
Liberman openly admitted on Saturday that he still does not trust Netanyahu.
"It's true that I don't believe a word Netanyahu says, but there is no personal argument or personal disqualification here," tweeted Liberman.
"I have said countless times that the State of Israel currently needs a Zionist and liberal coalition, including the Likud movement and without the Orthodox and Messianic parties," stated Liberman.
While ideologically Liberman falls on the political right, his secular party – largely backed by Russian-speaking immigrants – has been increasingly at odds with the religious and especially the ultra-Orthodox parties concerning issues of religion and state.
In June 2021, Liberman joined the so-called “Change Government”, a diverse coalition consisting of right, centrist, leftist and Arab parties under the leadership of former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. The coalition that was formed solely based on its opposition to Netanyahu, collapsed after about a year in power.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.