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Lieberman says he will not recommend Gantz as Israel PM

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman [James N. Mattis/Flickr]
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli former Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman [James N. Mattis/Flickr]

Avigdor Lieberman has declared that his party Yisrael Beiteinu will not recommend Benny Gantz as prime minister even if the former Israeli army chief’s Blue and White List wins more seats than Likud in the 17 September elections.

Lieberman made the remarks in an interview with the Jerusalem Post, a week after his refusal to join a coalition under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu led to a vote to dissolve the Knesset.

According to Lieberman, the only possible government would be from the Right. “There is no chance [that I would] recommend Gantz,” Lieberman told the Jerusalem Post.

“He is a good guy. I respect him. But I don’t think he has a realistic chance to form a government. You can only form a government from the Right, and he has no experience in the civilian sector. You can’t come without any experience.”

READ: 4 things to watch ahead of Israel’s September election

The paper reported that Lieberman did not rule out the possibility that he would run in the 17 September election as a prime ministerial candidate, but for that to happen, he would need to see an increase in public support.

“I have to be realistic. I am not rejecting this possibility, but I am not blinded by it either,” Lieberman said.

“I borrow a phrase from Yitzhak Rabin, who said that politics are an option and not an obsession. We will see what happens, and if there will be an opportunity, then we will decide.”

Lieberman also used the interview as an opportunity to reject claims made by Likud and others that he merely used the Haredi army recruitment issue as an excuse to bring down Netanyahu.

“It was in the centre of Yisrael Beiteinu’s campaign from the beginning,” he said. “Everything was clear in the campaign, after and now. We have a commitment to our voters.”

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