Lieberman walks out on Likud merger with Bibi

Lieberman walks out on Likud merger with Bibi

Lieberman’s right-wing party counts many Russian-speaking Israelis among its supporters

Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has called an end to his party’s alliance with Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud after “fundamental” disagreements.

The merged grouping of Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu and the Prime Minister’s Likud fought last year’s election on a joint platform, together winning 31 seats.

However a fractured relationship well and truly snapped this week, when the two disagreed on how to respond to rocket fire from Gaza and when Netanyahu appeared to publicly reprimand the Foreign Minister for missing meetings on it.

“Disagreements between the prime minister and me are fundamental and do not allow for a future partnership,” Lieberman said in a terse statement.

“The partnership did not work during the elections, it did not work after the elections and to this day there were quite a few technical issues. When technical issues turn to fundamental ones there is no point in continuing.”

Despite the disengagement with Netanyahu, Lieberman said his party would not be leaving the coalition. Yet the right-wing split augurs well for second-placed Yesh Atid, led by centrist Finance Minister Yair Lapid, which commands a sixth of the Knesset.

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