Ultra-Orthodox MK accuses Liberman of ‘trying to hinder’ right-wing coalition
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Ultra-Orthodox MK accuses Liberman of ‘trying to hinder’ right-wing coalition

UTJ’s Yisrael Eichler calls for a rerun of elections to prevent ‘lost votes’ on right and thus eliminate need for Yisrael Beytenu in government

United Torah Judaism MK Yisrael Eichler at a Knesset committee meeting on November 8, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
United Torah Judaism MK Yisrael Eichler at a Knesset committee meeting on November 8, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

A lawmaker from the United Torah Judaism party on Tuesday slammed Yisrael Beytenu chief Avigdor Liberman for his list of demands to enter the coalition — including several that clash with ultra-Orthodox interests.

“Liberman is trying to hinder a right-wing government,” United Torah Judaism MK Yisrael Eichler said at the Knesset.

Eichler called for a rerun of April’s elections, saying the right lost votes on parties that failed to clear the electoral threshold needed to enter the Knesset.

“If we go back to elections and call on the right to only vote for those who pass, we won’t need to be like beggars on the doorstep, giving Liberman the Defense Ministry and forcing his positions upon an entire nation,” he said.

Eichler’s comments came after coalition talks scheduled for Tuesday evening between UTJ and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling Likud party were scrapped. The cancellation was due to UTJ’s dissatisfaction with Likud’s offers to join the coalition, the Globes business daily reported.

Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman leads a party meeting at the Knesset on May 13, 2019. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

The remarks also came after Liberman threatened Monday to take his party to the opposition, citing significant gaps with Likud in coalition talks, mainly on security-related issues.

Liberman declared that he would hold no further negotiations, telling Netanyahu that either he could accept his demands or risk sending Israelis back to the polls.

Netanyahu needs Yisrael Beytenu’s five seats to form a governing coalition. Without them, his other potential partners will only give him 60 seats out of the Knesset’s 120.

Liberman laid out five core demands he said must be met, among them the defeat of the Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group and the blocking of any changes to proposed legislation regulating military conscription for ultra-Orthodox men.

Opposition by UTJ to that bill threatened to bring down the last coalition, in which Liberman served as defense minister before resigning in November to protest a truce with Hamas following heavy rocket fire at Israel.

Regarding his dispute with ultra-Orthodox parties over the bill, Liberman, a staunch secularist, repeated his stance that he would not agree to any change in the current bill, which has passed its first reading in the Knesset.

Ultra-Orthodox parties have said they will not join the coalition if the bill is not changed.

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