Likud and Yisrael-Beitenu have split following a confrontation between Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Liberman and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Yisrael-Beitenu chairman is set to call a press conference to officially announce the split but Liberman has no plans to resign from the government.
Liberman met Netanyahu this morning to inform him of his decision. The separation leaves the Likud with just 20 MKs and a rickety coalition that is struggling to promote new measures and push legislation through.
Liberman and Netanyahu have had their ups and downs together. Tensions have risen between the two men in the past week over disputes in the security cabinet on the strength of Israel's reaction to the murder of the three teenagers kidnapped in Gush Etzion. Liberman wanted to hit Hamas hard while Netanyahu advocated a more moderate response.
The disagreement spilled over into the cabinet meeting yesterday when Netanyahu castigated Liberman for his absence. Liberman accused Netanyahu of exploiting his condolence visit to the families of the slain teenagers.
Many political sources view the Likud-Yisrael-Beitenu split as the "beginning of the end" of the third Netanyahu government.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on July 7, 2014
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