Photo: Shahar Azran
Lieberman with Kerry. 'A true friend of Israel'
Photo: Shahar Azran
Sima Kadmon

Lieberman is State Department's new darling

Americans see Lieberman as a gold mine compared to childish and irresponsible behavior of Netanyahu and his Likud ministers

If the old Yvet, the one from the Aswan-Tehran speeches, had heard Avigdor Lieberman's speech last Friday, he would surely have pulled his hair out. The man has seemingly made a u-turn at 120 kilometers per hour, with two wheels in the air and without a safety belt.



But Lieberman's call for Israeli unity over land and his support for John Kerry should not surprise anyone. Since his return to the Foreign Ministry, he has been delivering word for word on what he promised on the eve of his acquittal in a fraud trial, to be the balancing, moderating and uniting factor in the Netanyahu coalition. The responsible adult – a title we love to bestow in an environment lacking responsible adults.


There is no doubt that Lieberman has made a strategic decision. He has had enough of being in the position he was in throughout the previous term, especially as it did not pay any political dividends.


One only has to see his beaming face when he is asked about this change in his status: From the bad, boycotted boy who had not set foot in the White House, to the State Department's darling, the one the Americans are now going out of their way to honor.


It's quite possible that we will soon see our Yvet walking tenderly on the red carpet on his way to a meeting with President Obama.


But if we factor in that Lieberman was never an ideologist but a pragmatic and cold person, and that he gained his high popularity among the right mainly due to his aggressive image, all of this should not surprise us at all. He is still demonstrating his rightism at the expense of Israel's Arabs.


We should not discount Lieberman's political interests: The immigrants are no longer flocking to Yisrael Beiteinu, the Likud is blocked, and his way to the prime minister's residence is to take a sharp turn to the left, split the Likud and create a new package together with Netanyahu, while rebuilding his public image on the way, if possible.


If the Likud option still exists after all, Lieberman has reached the conclusion long ago that the only way of doing it is through Netanyahu rather than through Ya'alon and Danon. And until that happens, if it happens, Lieberman is the coalition's tiebreaker, between the Right and Lapid and Livni, both of whom maintain a close and coordinated relationship with him. That is also the reason why in Friday's speech he attacked the cousin, Naftali Bennett.


For the Americans, Lieberman is, as I said, a gold mine. On Sunday, the prime minister sent ministers Steinitz, Erdan and Ya'alon to lash out at Kerry. After the White House rushed to back Kerry, Netanyahu realized that he had gone too far, and on Monday, during the faction meeting, he asked them to pipe down. Lieberman stood up against this childish, irresponsible behavior and called the American foreign minister "a true friend of Israel," while mocking his fellow ministers for competing over who could be the most blatant and fiery.


The days of the messiah have arrived: Lieberman is rebuking(!) those criticizing the attempt to establish two states for two people. And if we're still not convinced that we are seeing an about-face, we can memorize Lieberman's new catchphrase: "The unity of the people is more important than the unity of the land."


פרסום ראשון: 02.09.14, 11:12
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