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Ayalon off Yisrael Beytenu list, Shamir number 2
By GIL HOFFMAN, JPOST.COM STAFF, LAHAV HARKOV
04/12/2012
Liberman announces party's candidate list, notably leaving off his deputy; Landau, Landver and Aharonovitch round out top 5.
 
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon failed to secure a spot on Yisrael Beytenu's candidate list for the January 22 Knesset elections, which Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman presented on Tuesday evening.

Following Liberman atop the list were: party newcomer Yair Shamir, the son of former prime minister Yitzhak Shamir; Energy and Water Minster Uzi Landau; MK Sofa Landver, and Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch.

Rounding out the top 10 were MK Orly Levy-Abecasis at number six, followed by MK Faina Kirschenbaum, MK David Rotem, MK Robert Ilatov and MK Hamad Amar. Shamir is the only new face in the top ten.

Ayalon responded to his having been left off the Yisrael Beytenu list, saying he would continue to work to advance Israel's interests.

"Today I received from the chairman of Yisrael Beytenu, Avigdor Liberman, the announcement that I would not be on the Yisrael Beytenu list for the next Knesset," Ayalon wrote on his Facebook page.

"In the past four years I was able to serve as Israel's deputy foreign minster during a complicated and challenging time...I will continue to work for the prosperity and strengthening of Israel in the diplomatic, security and economic arenas," Ayalon stated.

He added that he would continue to work hard in his current role until the end of his term.

Current Yisrael Beytenu MKs Moshe Matalon and Lea Shemtov were bumped to unrealistic spots on the list.

Liberman touted the list as a "balanced, nationalist, responsible list."

In addition to Ayalon, the party also lost Tourism Minister Stas Meseznikov when he announced his resignation from politics earlier in the day, and controversial MK Anastasia Michaeli, who announced her own resignation on Monday night.

Meseznikov was a member of Yisrael Beytenu for 14 years, and Liberman expressed regret over his resignation.

"Minister Meseznikov held many important roles in the political system in the last two terms, he exceeded above and beyond in every one of them and greatly contributed to the economic and social strength of Israel and its citizens," Liberman said.

He added that Meseznikov had been expected to receive a high spot on the party list and a senior position in the next government.

Meseznikov has recently been the subject of allegations that he regularly gets drunk goes to strip clubs and misses important cabinet meetings. The minister responded to the accusations saying that former bodyguards leaked false stories.

MK Michaeli announced Monday night that she would not be seeking a place on the party's list for the next Knesset and would retire from politics.

Michaeli received overtures from the Strong Israel party led by MK Arieh Eldad, who hoped she would bring his party votes from Russian immigrants. But she decided she would remain loyal to Yisrael Beytenu, even though she would not be on its Knesset list.
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