Ahead of Yom Kippur, Liberman tells PM to repent, resign

Opposition party leaders knock prime minister over rise in violence, drop in economic growth

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and then-foreign minister Avigdor Liberman in the Knesset, February 3, 2014. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and then-foreign minister Avigdor Liberman in the Knesset, February 3, 2014. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Accusing the government of being ineffective in the face of a spike of violence, Yisrael Beytenu party leader Avigdor Liberman called on Thursday for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to seek atonement from the Israeli people, and vacate his seat.

The prime minister’s erstwhile ally said in a Facebook post that the best way for the Likud party leader to demonstrate his contrition over the security situation, which has seen an uptick in violence in Jerusalem in past days, is to resign from the premiership.

In his rambling post cataloging what he perceived as the government’s recent failures, Liberman attacked what he called the prime minister’s “baseless guarantees” of economic prosperity and security.

“When on New Year’s eve Jews are murdered in Jerusalem, and when before the holiday and during it there are mobs and stones thrown on the Temple Mount, and when after the holiday they deploy Iron Dome near Ashdod out of concern of terrorists in Gaza and renewed administrative detention of Mohammed Allaan, and when we’re welcoming in the second consecutive month of growth in Israel lower than that the growth in Greece, and when all these things are happening between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur it’s worthwhile for the people of Israel to ask the prime minister where’s the security and where’s the money and appropriate for the prime minister to ask forgiveness from the citizens of Israel in general and his voters in particular for the baseless guarantees he disseminated regarding his preservation of security and concern for the economy,” he wrote.

“After asking for forgiveness it’s appropriate for him to resign,” Liberman concluded.

On Sunday, an Israeli motorist was killed after his car was pelted with stones from a Palestinian neighborhood of East Jerusalem. The incident came amid ongoing clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian protesters on the Temple Mount, inflaming tensions.

Liberman’s tirade about the economy came as the Central Bureau of Statistics published a report on the second quarter of 2015, which showed a meager 0.1 percent growth in GDP.

In August, the CBS estimate for Q2 was 0.3 percent. It stood at 1.8 percent in the year’s first quarter and a robust 6.1 percent in the last quarter of 2014.

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog also took the news of Israel’s poor economic performance as an opportunity to knock the prime minister. “The balance of Bibi (Mr. Economy),” the Zionist Union leader wrote using Netanyahu’s nicknames, “zero successes versus thousands of promises + zero economic growth + zero hope in the budget. A wonderful gift for the holidays…”

The Likud party responded to Liberman’s remarks, saying that Liberman promised to join a Netanyahu-run government — which in the end he didn’t do, opting to take his six seats to the opposition.

“He’s the one who grossly violated his promises to the public,” the party said in a statement.

The party listed what it said were Netanyahu’s aggressive policies to defend the country’s borders and “zero-tolerance policy against terrorism.

“Instead of attacking the prime minister, it would have been expected for Liberman to support the determined steps [Netanyahu’s] taken against terrorism,” the party said.

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