At every Yisrael Beytenu political event, the rostrum from which party chairman
Avigdor Liberman speaks says: “Our word is our bond.”
In August 2009,
Liberman said at the Knesset, “If the attorney-general decides to indict me, I
will resign from the cabinet that moment.”
Weinstein’s office officially announced the foreign minister’s indictment
shortly after 4:30 p.m. on Thursday. He is still foreign
But at a press conference at a Tel Aviv bar where he went to
woo young voters,Liberman explained that when he had made his commitment, he had been referring
to the big case against him in which the charges against him were dropped, not
the little case that resulted in his indictment, which is based on events that
happened after he made the promise.
He said he would consult with his
lawyers but also keep in mind the will of his voters.
however, already told him he did not have to quit, and his voters will tell him
the same thing.
Unless Weinstein or the Supreme Court obligate Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to fire Liberman, he is not going
After the election, Weinstein will have to rule whether
Liberman can be appointed foreign minister again, but even then, chances are,
nothing will prevent Liberman from continuing his attacks on unfriendly European
Netanyahu released a statement supporting Liberman and
downplaying his indictment.
Liberman pointed out that he had been under
investigation for 16 years. The more high profile the investigations were, the
stronger Liberman got politically. The legal establishment that tried to bring
him down played into his hands time and time again.
Ahead of past
elections, it looked as if the State Attorney’s Office would finally bring him
down. This time, he took extra precautions.
The deal Liberman signed to
bring Yisrael Beytenu into the Likud saved his political allies and ensured his
Imagine if Yisrael Beytenu was running on its own and
Weinstein would prevent Liberman from running. His party might have vanished
Now he has 15 seats in the top 42 on the joint Likud-Yisrael
Beytenu list, regardless of whether he is prevented from running.
even if he does have to resign later on, he will still have a political base to
return to if his trial ends successfully.
With the most serious charges
against him dropped, Liberman will probably only get stronger politically. His
voters believe he was wrongly pursued, and they believe his case.
might be overly blunt, he might have crossed ethical and perhaps even legal red
lines. But it cannot be denied that Liberman appears to be honest. His word is
indeed his bond.