Israel’s Culture Minister: God, Not the People, Chooses the Prime Minister

Culture Minister Miri Regev said in an interview with radio station 103FM Friday that it is God, and not the people, who will decide who Israel's next prime minister will be.

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On the program, the interviewer said to Regev, who belongs to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party, that Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman will be the kingmaker in Israel's upcoming do-over elections in September. Regev responded, "First of all, he doesn't have all the cards in his hand. He who decides who will be the next prime minister is the Holy One. I still don't know that it's people who choose who the next prime minister will be."

Regev also said that Lieberman is "A fraud and a crook. He swindled the people when he told them he would sit [in a coalition] with Netanyahu. Twenty years of promises with zero action," she said. "Whoever votes for Lieberman is voting for the left."

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Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu is slated to win the fourth most seats in the upcoming election, according to an election poll released Thursday, coming behind Likud, Benny Gantz's Kahol Lavan and Ayelet Shaked's united right-wing Yamina slate.

Lieberman said in July that his party intends to compel Likud and Kahol Lavan into a unity government, excluding the ultra-Orthodox parties from the coalition. "We will do everything in order to block the ultra-Orthodox, so that they won't enter the government," he said.

Two weeks ago, Lieberman said that if Netanyahu is once again incapable of forming a government, he will request that Likud "suggest an alternative candidate" for prime minister. This prompted the Likud party to request its members sign a declaration of loyalty to Netanyahu.

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A month after the previous election in April, a new election was called after Netanyahu failed to form a government. He did not manage to bridge differences between the ultra-Orthodox parties and Lieberman, who were at odds over the conscription of ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students, thereby missing the final deadline for presenting a new government.

After the Knesset voted to dissolve itself, the prime minister accused Lieberman of being “obsessed” with toppling Netanyahu’s government.