Kingmaker Liberman says all must bow before his conditions, ‘unity the only way’

Kingmaker Avigdor Liberman appears outside his “castle” in the settlement of Nokdim, offering the gathered masses a royal promise that he will not allow a third round of elections but will also not waste time haggling.

Liberman lays out his demands — a secular wishlist including military service for the ultra-Orthodox, public transportation and commerce on Shabbat, Haredi education standards and other measures — and says he does not plan on speaking to any other party leaders until they meet his preconditions.

But he also softens his tone toward the right wing, describing ultra-Orthodox parties as “political rivals, not enemies,” and expressing willingness to sit in a government under Benjamin Netanyahu.

He calls the idea of forming a government that includes Arab parties “absurd.”

Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman speaks to press while touring the Sarona Market in Tel Aviv on election day, September 17, 2019. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

“Don’t waste your time. We need to pursue the only possible track as fast as possible,” he says, referring to his demands for a unity government, which he describes as “the only possible action.”

Liberman says President Reuven Rivlin should take a “much more active” role in shepherding a government into existence, appearing to chide him for allowing the new elections, which many have blamed on Liberman’s intransigence.

He also expresses unhappiness with a speech early Wednesday morning from Blue and White leader Benny Gantz, which did not address his secular issues.

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