Netanyahu Teams With Lieberman Ahead Of Israeli Elections
As Ynetnews reports, the two men held a press conference Thursday evening to announce the surprising move:
"'We shall ask the public for a mandate to lead Israel with force. It will empower the government, it will empower the prime minister and therefore the state. I hope to win the public's trust again and to get a clear mandate that will allow me to focus on what is important,' Netanyahu said.
'Joining forces will give us the power to defend Israel and generate social and economic change,' he added. The two refused to take questions, did not elaborate on the make-up of the new list and did not address the possibility of a rotation.
"We face tremendous challenges and this is the time to join forces for the State of Israel's sake. That is why the Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu will run together under one ticket in the next Knesset election.'"
This alliance was consummated after secret negotiations between Netanyahu and Lieberman, with other senior party officials kept in the dark about the news. According to Ynetnews, Netanyahu's Likud party had not been polling well as of late, and by merging with Lieberman's growing ultra-right party, he would be able to ensure that he would control the government after the next election.
Opposition politicians from Israel's center and left denounced the move, with Labor's Shelly Yachimovich calling for centrists to join forces with her left-wing party under her leadership.
Yair Lapid, leader of the Yesh Atid party and a popular television personality, expessed exasperation at the state of Israeli politics, as Ynetnews reports:
"The merger sheds light on the current political map – Netanyahu has aligned himself with the radical Right, (Shelly) Yachimovich went way left and the decent moderate Israeli majority cannot identify with yesterday's parties," he said.
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