Some Israelis say he sows “the seeds of fascism“. “In reality, he decides much less than most people think he does”.
For the tiny minority of Israelis who see the occupation as the most pressing problem in the country and who are dedicated to challenging the way Israeli society operates and defines itself, Lieberman as defense minister is not that shocking or disturbing.
After a week of intense negotiations, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed a deal Wednesday to bring the right-wing nationalist party, Israel Our Home, into an expanded coalition government.
As a student at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, Lieberman was a bouncer at a student night club, later becoming its manager. “It is hard to imagine that as Defence Minister, Lieberman will abandon his style of politics and sideline his personal political ambitions”, Ramzy Baroud, a Palestinian scholar and journalist told Sputnik.
Lieberman has angered Egypt, which has close security ties with Israel, with comments years ago calling for Israel to bomb the Aswan Dam. The party’s Sofa Landwer will become migration minister.
Leader of the Yisrael Beyteinu political party Avigdor Liberman leading a press conference at the Knesset, May 18, 2016.
Mr Netanyahu’s razor-thin majority of just one member in Israel’s 120-seat parliament – the Knesset – has now grown to 66.
Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, a former army chief of staff, was just forced out and replaced with Avigdor Lieberman, a man whom Friedman describes as “far-right”.
“He recently called for the beheading of Palestinians who are not loyal to Israel”. He also has angered the Americans with legislative proposals viewed as racist, such as a failed proposal to force Arab citizens of Israel to take an oath of loyalty in order to vote.
He also said he would give Hamas’ Gaza leader Ismail Haniya 48 hours to hand over two detained Israeli civilians and the bodies of soldiers killed in a 2014 war “or you’re dead”.
Over the years, he has been both a key ally and strong rival of Netanyahu’s, holding a series of high-level Cabinet posts, including serving twice as Netanyahu’s foreign minister. “I don’t see him as an ideologue”, Sandler adds.
A former foreign minister, Lieberman is regarded as a hardliner who has criticised Netanyahu for being too soft. But Sharon is remembered by Israelis for pulling Israeli troops and settlers out of Gaza in 2005, ditching his Likud party to do so. “The result will be religious and political extremism, and violence and terrorism and bloodshed”.
Herzog accused Netanyahu of being “beholden to the most extremist elements” and warned that the alliance with Lieberman would lead to more violent conflict with the Palestinians and increase Israel’s worldwide isolation. He was one of two Palestinians armed with knives who had stabbed an Israeli soldier, lightly wounding him.
“He’s been criticized for advocating transfer”. But sure, he’s said things that are problematic. Lieberman’s straight-talk wins points in some corners, says Perry.
Lieberman, loathed by the Palestinians, will be responsible for implementing Israeli policies in the occupied territories and will oversee defense for a country that lives under the near-constant threat of conflict.
Official sources said that nothing is finalized about a meeting between President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Netanyahu and Abu Mazen to follow up on Sisi’s call of last week for reconciliation between Palestinians and Israelis. “None of the ministers have any power”, he said.
The moment Lieberman’s appointment was announced and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon found himself out of a job, the latter suddenly appeared to be moderate, reasonable-practically a lefty in comparison.