Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and then-Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman speak to the media, Jan. 10, 2017. (Photo/JTA-Hadas Parush-Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and then-Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman speak to the media, Jan. 10, 2017. (Photo/JTA-Hadas Parush-Flash90)

Netanyahu says no to unity government

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is making his political vision for Israel crystal clear, promising to establish “a strong right-wing government.”

“This is my commitment to Likud voters. There will be no unity government,” he wrote in an op-ed published Wednesday in the conservative Israel Hayom newspaper.

Netanyahu is pushing back on demands that he form a unity government with the centrist Blue and White party.

“The citizens of Israel face a single choice in the upcoming election: Who will be the next prime minister of the State of Israel? Will a weak and inexperienced left-wing government led by Yair Lapid and Benny Gantz be established; or rather a strong right-wing government headed by the Likud under my leadership,” he wrote.

“To form a right-wing government, voters from the nationalist camp must wake up and shed their apathy.”

Netanyahu’s comments come after Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Liberman said that he will only support a candidate for prime minister who is willing to push for a national unity government. Liberman scuttled coalition talks in May and prevented Netanyahu from forming a government, and polls show him gaining strength.

Most of the Israeli public opposes such a unity government, with more than half of those surveyed against a coalition of Blue and White and Likud, The Times of Israel reported.

JTA

Content distributed by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency news service.

Sam Sokol

Sam Sokol is a Jerusalem-based journalist who covers Israel for JTA. He was formerly an international and Jewish affairs correspondent for The Jerusalem Post and a reporter for the Israel Broadcasting Authority. His work on revolutionary Ukraine garnered him the 2015 B’nai B’rith World Center Award for Journalism Recognizing Excellence in Diaspora Reportage