Israel Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman appeared unimpressed Thursday by pessimistic public
opinion polls and commentators' estimates over what caused him and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the friends turned rivals of Israeli politics, to merge their two parties.
The day after saw Likud members railing against the merger, saying 'Bibi sold us out'
Party officials raged against agreement with Yisrael Beiteinu, saying it 'changes our DNA'
Minister Michael Eitan was the only official who openly expressed his objection to the merger. He described it as being a "Likud clearance sale" and a danger to democracy.
In general, Lieberman sees no problem in the Likud- Yisrael Beiteinu merger, as both parties come from the same ideological background.
Do you think that following the merger in the Right there will be a merger in the Left as well?
"I hope and wish that the Left goes in the same direction of unity. Our political problem is the government system, the party fragments, the lists which have a right to exist for one term only. I suggest that citizens avoid going backwards with the parties of the future. We've seen enough parties rise and fall without leaving a trace."
Lieberman is unmoved by the Likud activists who spoke up against the merger deal, sending text messages to senior ministers and informing them that they are through with the party. Lieberman is convinced that political elements are seeking to pull out the racist card following his party's merger with the Likud. The foreign minister says secret talks between him and Netanyahu began about
a year ago and matured into a deal about two months ago. He rejects claims that Netanyahu was stressed out over the possibility that winning the elections was no longer in his pocket and therefore rushed into a merger with Yisrael Beiteinu.Lieberman reveals that the two parties will have a joint headquarters during the election campaign, as well as one platform, which will surprisingly mention
a Palestinian state.
"The Bar-Ilan speech was an important one. It is an integral part of this government's security and political perception," the foreign minister says of Netanyahu's historic 2009 speech, in which the prime minister expressed his consent for the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.
"I assume it will be mentioned in the joint platform," Lieberman notes.
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