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Netanyahu, Liberman locked in ultimate battle

Yisrael Beitenu leader Avigdor Liberman gave Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz an ultimatum: a unity government, or else he will join the one who agrees to his conditions.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem November 10, 2019. Abir Sultan/Pool via REUTERS - RC2B8D9BTK59
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Israeli roller coaster politics continues to break its own records. Over one weekend, two dramatic records were broken that turned the political map upside down, created a new reality and updated the rules of the game toward the showdown anticipated in the coming weeks.

The impression is that a real struggle is taking place between two veteran wolves who were once allies, but became bitter adversaries: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Yisrael Beitenu leader Avigdor Liberman. The opening shots were fired by Netanyahu who, on the afternoon of Nov. 8, only a few minutes before Shabbat, announced that he had decided to appoint New Right senior Naftali Bennett as defense minister in the transition government under his aegis. This surprising turn of events, which aroused much talk throughout the entire Middle East, is the result of the heavy pressures on Netanyahu. It was rumored that Bennett and his partner Ayelet Shaked were in contact with the Blue and White heads and were seriously considering jumping Netanyahu’s ship and crossing the lines to join the other side.

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