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Did Israel’s Liberman close deal with Netanyahu’s rival?

After the March 2 elections, Blue and White leader Benny Gantz will have to make a choice between Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beitenu party and the Arab Joint List.
FILE PHOTO: Avigdor Lieberman, leader of Yisrael Beitenu leaves his party headquarters following the announcement of exit polls in Israel's parliamentary election, in Jerusalem September 18, 2019. REUTERS/Oren Ben Hakoon/File Photo. ISRAEL OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN ISRAEL - RC12937027A0
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Avigdor Liberman, the hawkish chair of the Yisrael Beitenu party, is changing direction. In a Feb. 4 interview with the Ynet news site, he proclaimed with complete certainty, “I know there won't be a unity government, but a Zionist and liberal government."

When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his rival, Blue and White party Chair Benny Gantz, were trying, each to no avail, to form a government following the September 2019 elections, Liberman was the one who insisted he would not join either one of them unless they formed a unity government. He even presented a four-stage plan for such a coalition government, which would entail forming a team of Likud, Blue and White and Yisrael Beitenu representatives to formulate guidelines on defense, economic and social issues, and on the issue closest to his heart — relations between state and religion. Other parties, according to his blueprint, could join the trilateral coalition only if they adopted the agreed guidelines. Presumably, the guidelines that Liberman meant to stipulate would have left the ultra-Orthodox, Arab and hard right parties (except for the Likud) out of the unity government. After all, he has been waging almost daily war against all of them. Liberman even generously declared over and over that he is fine with staying out of a unity government if the Likud and Blue and White decide to go it together, without any others.

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