Deri urges Lieberman on Facebook: Guarantee Shas spot in Netanyahu coalition
Lieberman chides Deri for using public forum for this quest, tells him he was angered by ‘propaganda’ star-conversion ad.
Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman and a leader of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, Aryeh Deri, conducted a public exchange via Facebook on Monday regarding when coalition negotiations are meant to begin.
In the exchange, Deri pushed Lieberman to agree to Shas’ entry into the next coalition even before the election, while Lieberman expressed concern that Deri’s public move was aimed at paving his way to join the center-left bloc, since he knew full well that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would not respond to Deri’s demand before the election results were in.
“Yvet [Lieberman] my friend, leave aside the stories and spins. You and Netanyahu closed a deal on the 2009 government even before the election. Netanyahu also closed with Shas before the election,” Deri wrote to Lieberman.
“Certainly you read newspapers, like me, and see all the headlines about the center-left government you’d prefer to establish with [Hatnuah’s Tzipi] Livni and [Yesh Atid’s Yair] Lapid. Once again, I ask you: Let’s sit and meet today and agree on the government guidelines.”
Lieberman, meanwhile, posted a letter of his own to Facebook, addressed to Deri.
“Generally it isn’t customary to conduct talks in writing and certainly not over Facebook. But after I heard you in several interviews over the past few weeks referring to me and to Yisrael Beiteinu in the context of the election campaign and the forming of the next coalition, with emphasis on the issues of conversion and civil unions, I had to set things straight.”
The former foreign minister then describes his party’s actions to promote a new conversion law and civil unions and vehemently protests Shas’ broadcasts on these issues.
“I can’t help but get angry about the propaganda broadcast that I will allow myself to call the ‘horror film,’ that you prepared, ‘Star-Conversion,’ which hurt the feelings of many, many people in the immigrant community and members of the general public who were offended on their behalf,” Lieberman wrote.
“Such a video is unacceptable even in the heat of an election campaign. Who better than you knows that the Torah itself says, no less than 36 different times, that it is forbidden to offend a convert.”
Lieberman added, “My friends and I do not disqualify any person or party from sitting in the government because of who they are, and certainly not you and your colleagues. Just as I enjoy sitting with you and having a nice, fruitful conversation, so I have no problem sitting with you and your colleagues in the government, and we have done so in the past.”
Lieberman, however, also speculated that Deri’s public approach was meant to pave the way for Shas to join the center-left bloc after the election, rather than join a Likud government.
“I must tell you, as one veteran politician to another, that I couldn’t help but get the impression that your public call yesterday for the prime minister to open negotiations and come to coalition agreements even before the election was actually preparing the ground for you to join an obstructive bloc after the election with [Labor chairman] Shelly Yacimovich and the other leftist parties,” Lieberman wrote.
“Your public call is meant to provide an alibi for going against the prime minister, who supposedly didn’t respond to you, and against the national camp. But you know very well that no prime ministerial candidate would conduct coalition negotiations before being elected,” he wrote.
Lieberman concluded his public letter by saying, “Aryeh, we’ll continue this conversation, as usual, in a personal meeting in a pleasant spirit and atmosphere.”