‘Liberman as Defense Minister is a cause for concern’

May 19, 2016  

Attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir, one of the leaders of the nationalist Otzma Yehudit party, on Thursday issued criticism of the exuberance of the political right-wing over Yisrael Beytenu head MK Avigdor Liberman’s anticipated appointment as Defense Minister.

Liberman is currently engaged in talks to join Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s narrow coalition, with sources saying the talks could be wrapped up as early as Thursday. Netanyahu accepted Liberman’s request to take over the post of Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon (Likud).

“Liberman served as the Foreign Minister of the state of Israel for many years, and there is not a single action that he did that proved his right-wing agenda other than unfounded declarations,” warned Ben-Gvir.

“What’s more, Liberman also held the wheel on important ministries like Internal Security, and there too we saw no action and mainly a lot of talk,” he added, referring to former Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich, a member of Liberman’s party.

Ben-Gvir also pointed out that even in terms of talk and statements it isn’t clear if Liberman is in fact right-wing, noting Yisrael Beytenu’s election campaign calling to give up the “triangle” region in the north where over 300,000 Arab citizens of Israel live as part of creating a Palestinian state.

“He spoke about returning Israel to the lines of Highway 6 (coastal plains highway – ed.), talks with pride about how he is ready to give up on territories of the land of Israel, and he has no organized ideological doctrine,” said Ben-Gvir.

“The danger today is several times larger when Liberman will seek to prove to all those who attack him that he is a pragmatic man, and for Liberman that’s a fixed pattern: he is attacked, is pressured, and then tries to outflank from the left.”

Noting on former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon who was behind the 2005 Disengagement plan, he added, “Liberman always reminds me of ‘Arik’ Sharon, and I hope that we won’t discover that that’s his role model.”

Despite his reservations regarding Liberman, Ben-Gvir clarified that there is one reason to celebrate, and that is Ya’alon’s anticipated ejection from the role of Defense Minister.

“‘Boogie’ (Ya’alon) caused massive damage to the settlements, he oppressed outposts, didn’t give backing to soldiers, and at the end of his term even backed statements comparing the pioneering youths of the hilltops to Nazis,” he said, noting on the shocking incident with IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Yair Golan.

Ben-Gvir reckons that “there is a very important message here that every minister will need to remember before he turns his back on his voters and those who brought him to his position.”

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