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Israel heading for third elections in year?

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Tel Aviv, Nov 21: Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman on Wednesday refused to support a minority government ether headed by Blue and White chief Benny Gantz or a right-wing government headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Lieberman’s comments came ahead of a midnight deadline for Gantz to form a coalition, apparently preparing Israel for a third round of elections within a year, The Times of Israel reported.

“There is no chance. We will not join either a limited right- or left-wing government or a minority government. Whatever sort of government that would be, it would not survive and would not be able to function to do what is needed for the country,” Liberman told the packed Yisrael Beytenu faction room in the Knesset.

President Reuven Rivlin has suggested a power-sharing agreement whereby, he indicated, Netanyahu would take a leave of absence if he is indicted in the three corruption cases pending against him.

Netanyahu and Gantz had traded accusations on late Tuesday night in statements issued shortly after the conclusion of a one-hour meeting they had at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, in which efforts for a unity government appeared to break down.

However, Netanyahu, in a statement, had misrepresented an ultimatum Liberman issued earlier this month, in which he challenged Netanyahu and Gantz to accept tough compromises or he would back the candidate that would, and renege on his pledge to only support a national unity government.

The Yisrael Beytenu leader said a unity government was needed specifically to “neutralize the threat of the anti-Zionist cooperation in the Knesset between the Arab parties and the Haredim.

The coalition talks between Netanyahu and Gantz initiated last month after the latter received the mandate from Israeli President Reuven Rivlin to form a new government.

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