A hard-line right-wing political party, Yisrael Beiteinu was formed in 1999 by former Likud member, Avigdor Lieberman, just a year after he quit the post of Prime Minister Netanyahu's bureau chief, in a bid to attract mostly Russian immigrant votes, which supported a harder line in negotiations with the Palestinians.
The party won four Knesset seats in the 1999 general elections and in 2000 merged with the National Union faction. Lieberman was later appointed as National Infrastructure Minister in Ariel Sharon's government but quit at the beginning of 2002 after charging Sharon was not acting forcefully enough against the Palestinians.
The 2003 general elections saw the National Union win seven Knesset seats and Lieberman was appointed transportation minister. He was fired by Sharon in July 2004 after objecting to the disengagement plan.
In 2005, Yisrael Beiteinu announced it will run independently in the upcoming elections and ended the merger with the National Union. The party's bid was successful and it won 11 Knesset seats. Initially remaining in the opposition, the party joined the coalition in October, as Prime Minister Ehud Olmert named Avigdor Lieberman minister of strategic affairs.
The party resigned the coalition in January 2008 over Israel's negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, citing "ideological differences."
- Yisrael Beiteinu will act to fulfill Zionism's three basic principles: Immigration to Israel (aliyah), defending the land and settlement activity.
- The party proposes that Arab-majority areas in Israel be handed over to the Palestinian Authority, while Jewish settlements and West Bank areas are officially made part of the State of Israel.
- The party will back a new citizenship law based on guidelines suggesting that in order to enjoy the rights bestowed on Israeli citizens one must fulfill certain civic duties; every Israeli citizen will have to pledge allegiance to the country and either serve in the Israeli army or perform an alternate national service.
- The party pledges to eliminate crime and introduce stricter punishments; boost the level of education and the rate of economic growth; encourage foreign investment and minimize government expenses; and back the privatization of government bodies.