Yisrael Beytenu leader MK Avigdor Liberman on Tuesday denied that his party was readying to compromise on its demands in coalition talks, rejecting media reports to that effect as unfounded.
“This morning I heard and read a load of nonsense from journalists in various media outlets concerning actions Yisrael Beytenu is allegedly planning: compromises on matters of religion and state, joining one bloc or another etc,” Liberman tweeted. “These reports are baseless and generated solely by the writers and pundits.”
On Monday, Channel 12 news reported that Liberman was preparing to begin several days of consultations with senior party officials ahead of making what the station described as a “final decision” regarding the ongoing political deadlock.
Two rounds of elections within six months, in April and September, failed to produce a governing coalition. In the second round, Yisrael Betyenu won eight Knesset seats out of 120.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads a bloc of 55 Knesset members from his Likud party and its right-wing and religious allies who have all agreed to negotiate as a single unit.
The centrist Blue and White alliance and the secular right-wing Yisrael Beytenu have called for a unity government with Likud, but without the ultra-Orthodox and hard-right parties, but Likud has refused to negotiate outside of the bloc of 55.
President Reuven Rivlin last month tasked Blue and White leader MK Benny Gantz with attempting to form a coalition after Netanyahu failed, but his chances of doing so are seen as just as slim.
On Monday Netanyahu met with party leaders from his right-wing and religious bloc. After the meeting the bloc issued a statement reaffirming their united front and calling on Gantz to join with them in a broad unity government.
MK Ayelet Shaked, from the New Right party, which is one of those included in Netanyahu’s bloc, reportedly met with Liberman on Monday, generating speculation that she may have tried to convince him to align with the right-wing bloc.
It was Liberman’s refusal to join a Likud-led right-wing government after the April vote that led to Netanyahu dissolving parliament and calling fresh elections.
Liberman, who champions secular rights and resisting religious coercion, cited an impasse with ultra-Orthodox parties as the reason for not joining; however, Likud accused him of deliberately foiling Netanyahu’s coalition efforts for his own political gain.
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