(September 10, 2019 / JNS) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blasted Yisrael Beiteinu Party leader Avigdor Lieberman on Monday for reneging on an agreement to support a bill seeking to allow political party members to bring cameras into voting stations just two days after pledging to support it.
Lieberman “once said that within 48 hours he would eliminate [Hamas leader Ismail] Haniyeh, and now within 48 hours he flip-flopped and went with Ahmad Tibi and Ayman Odeh,” said Netanyahu, referring to two senior Arab lawmakers from the Joint List.
It was “particularly disappointing” that Lieberman had “joined the left-wing and the Arab parties,” he added.
According to reports, MKs were tied 12-12 on a motion to shorten the normal legislative process to allow the camera bill to come up for a quick vote in time to possibly pass it prior to the Sept. 17 election. Yisrael Beiteinu lawmakers ended up voting against the proposal, preventing it from being presented for first reading in the plenum later in the day and ensuring that it would not pass before the election.
According to Lieberman, he chose not to support the bill due to it being “carried out by Netanyahu’s militias, whose entire purpose is to disrupt and steal the elections, not to oversee them.” However, Lieberman also said he supported oversight at polling stations, including the use of cameras.
Blue and White Party No. 2 MK Yair Lapid called Netanyahu “a serial loser,” while Odeh said Netanyahu was waging “a final battle against the Arab community.”
The bill had been unanimously approved by Netayahu’s Cabinet on Sunday, with the prime minister insisting that the measure was only intended to prevent voter fraud. Critics have said the use of cameras at voting stations would have intimidated Arab voters.
The Likud gave some 1,200 hidden cameras to officials at ballot stations in Arab population centers during the April 9 vote, claiming voter fraud was rampant in those areas.
The failure of the bill marks the latest in a series of confrontations between Netanyahu and Lieberman, who were once close allies.
It was Lieberman that led to the dissolution of the last government, following the April 9 elections. Following the Likud Party’s win, Lieberman refused to join Netanyahu’s coalition, in a standoff over Likud’s relationship with the ultra-Orthodox parties, leading to a stalemate that forced Israel into yet another round of elections.
JNS works around the clock to provide high-quality, pro-Israel content. We’ve taken numerous steps to improve the quality, quantity, and distribution of our content for even greater impact. We intend to keep on growing, and to do that we need your help.
Please help us take pro-Israel journalism to the next level with a tax-deductible sponsorship, either on a one-time or recurring monthly basis. Jewish News Syndicate is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization.