Photo: Alex Kolomoisky
אביגדור ליברמן ישראל ביתנו כנסת דיון על הצעה הצעת חוק פיזור הכנסת קריאה שנייה ו שלישית
Photo: Alex Kolomoisky
Sever Plocker
Avigdor Liberman is the mouse that roared
Opinion: As his loyalties and agendas shift, following the Yisrael Beytenu leader in and out of alliances is dizzying work, and now he is a self-appointed kingmaker who aims to push the major parties into a unity government

Anyone able to predict what Avigdor Liberman wants and where he seems to be heading politically deserves a prize.



Since the last elections in April, everything he has said publicly appears to be for the purpose of grabbing headlines and nothing more.


Avigdor Liberman  (Photo: Avi Moalem)
Avigdor Liberman (Photo: Avi Moalem)


His on-again, off-again relationship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was blamed on a mercurial temper that Liberman promised was no longer a problem. But none of his actions attest to that, and trying to keep up can make one dizzy.


After leaving his post as director-general of the Prime Minister's Office in the late 1990s, Liberman formed Yisrael Beytenu as a counterweight to the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, but quickly learned to cooperate with its leaders. He positioned himself as a far-rightist, but joined a more centrist government headed by Ehud Olmert that included Labor among its members.


As Netanyahu's foreign minister in 2009, Liberman toed the line. But after the 2015 elections, he refused to join the prime minister in a new government. Only the defense minister's job enticed him back in 2016 - a position he held for just two years.


Liberman never stopped attacking and disparaging the Arab sector in Israeli society and especially their elected representatives in the Knesset, once even promising to legislate a special oath for minorities expressing loyalty to the Zionist state in exchange for citizenship.


Benjamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Liberman in the Knesset (Photo: AP)
Benjamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Liberman in the Knesset (Photo: AP)


Another election season saw Liberman present a plan for an exchange of territory that would move Israeli Arab towns and villages to Palestinian control and keeping West Bank settlements in Israeli hands.


On the subject of election promises in recent memory, there is one that truly stands out: Within 48 hours of his assuming the role of defense minister, Liberman said he would kill Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. Thankfully no one took him seriously, and today Haniyeh is still alive and well.  


With all his coming and going, Liberman failed to turn his party into a real political force and in the last elections barely passed the minimum threshold for the Knesset.


But now he is a self-proclaimed king maker and the leader of the liberal right(!), who will bend the major parties to his will and force them into forming a unity government.


Whether he can overcome the reticence and mutual animosity of those parties remains to be seen.


פרסום ראשון: 06.17.19, 18:31
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