Netanyahu Vows He Won’t Establish Unity Government Ahead of Israeli Election

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed Wednesday that he would not establish a unity government after the September 17 election.

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In an article in the Likud-aligned Israel Hayom newspaper, Netanyahu was quoted as saying that he must establish a right-wing government: "It is my obligation to Likud voters."

About two months ago, Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman stated that he would try to compel Likud and Benny Gantz's Kahol Lavan party into a unity government, thereby excluding ultra-Orthodox parties from the coalition. Lieberman said last week that his party will not endorse Netanyahu or Gantz as prime minister if they refuse to do so.

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"The first party to state that they support forming a broad national unity government will receive my endorsement to the president," Lieberman said.

On Saturday, Liebreman added that if Netanyahu refused to unite with Kahol Lavan, he will request that Likud present another candidate for prime minister. Following Lieberman's statements, the first 40 members of the Likud slate signed a declaration stating that they stand behind Netanyahu and will not replace him ahead of the election, at senior Likud member David Bitan's behest.

A poll released by Channel 12's "Meet the Press" program on Saturday showed that 59 percent of respondents said that they do not support a unity government of Likud, Kahol Lavan and Yisrael Beiteinu. Of those polled, 29 percent supported it and 12 percent said they did not know.         

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