JERUSALEM(VINnews) — Yisrael Beitenu chairman Avigdor Liberman may not have succeeded in creating a unity government in Israel, but during a fiery political speech delivered Wednesday afternoon, he succeeded in earning the condemnation of the entire political system in Israel with his inflammatory comments against Chareidi Jews and against the Satmar Rebbe.
In his dramatic announcement Wednesday just hours before Blue and White chief Benny Gantz’s mandate to form a government ends, Liberman announced that he would not support either a minority government headed by Gantz or a right-wing government headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, seemingly dragging the country into its third election in less than a year.
But Liberman sought at the same time to rebuke the Chareidi parties, whom he accused of collaborating with the “fifth column” Arab parties in order to promote their own interests.
“We should say it as it is — the Joint List is really a fifth column. But unfortunately the Chareidi parties are also becoming more and more anti-Zionist,” Liberman charged, comparing them to “Satmar extremists.” He also referred to the visit of the Satmar Rebbe to Israel and stated that the Rebbe “gave out millions of dollars” in an act of apparent “money laundering” which he said should be investigated by the tax authorities.
Chareidi MKs reacted furiously to Liberman’s criticism, denouncing him as an “anti-Semite” and calling his speech a “horror show.”
MK Yisrael Eichler (UTJ) said that “We don’t need to search for anti-Semitism abroad when Liberman announces a coup and third elections. What Liberman said today about the ultra-Orthodox community is a war crime. He is using methods of the Russian czar, who said ‘Strike at the Jews and save Russia.'”
MK Moshe Gafni said at a UTJ faction meeting that “We don’t remember this kind of anti-Semitism in the Knesset ever, even from Joint Arab List MK Ahmad Tibi. He[Liberman] has done damage to this country, and doesn’t know how to bow out respectfully. He needs to leave politics… he’s a nothing,” while his fellow UTJ MK Health Minister Yaakov Litzman termed the speech “a disgraceful ugly horror show… full of lies, ignorance and hatred.”
Tibi himself, who was singled out along with Gafni in Liberman’s comments, said that Liberman’s “incitement against the Arabs and the ultra-Orthodox is pure racism and anti-Semitism. We will continue building bridges with the Haredi parties despite the differences of opinion.”