In a dramatic move, Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman
announced Tuesday that Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon will not be included in the party's next Knesset roster.
The move sent shockwaves through the political arena, as Ayalon is considered to be one of Lieberman's confidants.
Sources within the party were stunned by the move, which they said caught them blindsided, given the two's good relationship.
The past few days have seen Lieberman "clean house" in Yisrael Beiteinu,
forcing out two high-profile party figures MK Anastassia Michaeli
and Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov.
Yisrael Beiteinu's top-five slots will now include Lieberman himself, Yair Shamir, Uzi Landau, Sofa Landver and Yitzhak Aharonovitch.
Ayalon issued a statement saying: "Today, Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman informed me that I will not be included in Yisrael Beiteinu's list for the next Knesset.
"In the past four years I have had the privilege of serving as the deputy foreign minister for the State of Israel,
during a tough, challenging time.
"Whichever path I choose next, I will continue to work towards bolstering Israel's strength and prosperity in the political, financial and defense arenas," he said.
Lieberman did not comment on the move, but did comment on Yisrael Beiteinu's new Knesset list, saying: "It's getting harder and harder, but we have a balanced, responsible list.
"The media hysteria concerning politics doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world. Our media is hysteric and that only goes to show that the national camp is leading and winning."
Israel, he added, "Will make the decisions that suit its national interests."
Itamar Eichner contributed to this report
Yuval Karni is a Ynet and Yedioth Ahronoth correspondent
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