Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman famously once worked as a bouncer in a night
He returned to those days Tuesday night when he decided that former
prime minister Yitzhak Shamir’s son Yair is worthy of being in the club of
Yisrael Beytenu Knesset members but Tourism Minister Stas Meseznikov, MK
Anastasia Michaeli and his own deputy in the Foreign Ministry, Danny Ayalon, are
Bouncers sometimes tell people politely that they cannot come in,
and sometimes they settle for a sneer.
Liberman allowed Meseznikov, his
political ally over the past 14 years, to leave with grace. He let him
know he would not be on the party’s Knesset list Monday night, giving him time
to make up a story about wanting to pursue opportunities outside
Ayalon, who used his diplomatic pedigree to explain Liberman to
skeptical leaders around the world for four years, apparently only found out he
would not continue in the Knesset from a report on television.
of whether Liberman made the decision because Ayalon made Israel look bad by
choreographing a scolding session with the Turkish ambassador or because of some
other reason, Liberman’s handling of the situation was clearly
undiplomatic. He did not even bother giving Ayalon a low chair. He left
him without any chair at all.
Speaking of chairs, Ayalon was not the only
MK Liberman mistreated Tuesday night. The candidates sat in the front row
of a Yisrael Beytenu rally at a Jerusalem hotel. In the middle, right in front
of where Liberman spoke, sat MK Moshe Matalon in his wheelchair.
looked Matalon right in the eye and gave him an unrealistic slot on the party’s candidates list. That
decision would not be that big a deal under normal circumstances.
did not do much to distinguish himself as an MK. But Tuesday was not just
another day. It was the United Nations International Day to honor People with
Disabilities, as Liberman himself noted on his Facebook page.
handling of the situation shows that although he has risen from the door of the
club to palaces and prime ministers’ offices around the world, in some ways, he
remains the bouncer he was back then.