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Liberman: Case against me weak, I will be cleared
By GIL HOFFMAN
02/01/2013
Yisrael Beytenu leader says "all the testimony supports my version of events"; rejects polls that show plummeting support.
 
Yisrael Beytenu party leader Avigdor Liberman expressed confidence on Wednesday that he would soon be cleared of the charges of fraud and breach of trust in the indictment against him that was filed Sunday.

Speaking at a rally for his party at Kibbutz Shefayim, north of Herzliya, Liberman said that after reading all the testimony against him, he received an impression that the case against him was weak.

“I received all the evidence against me and the testimony,” Liberman said.

“All the testimony contradicts the case against me. All the testimony supports my version of events. But I will present our testimony and our case in court and I am sure I will be cleared, chair my party and return to the Foreign Ministry to lead its policies the way they should be led,” he continued.

Responding to the drop in support for Likud-Yisrael Beytenu joint list in the polls, Liberman said the pollsters were wrong and that the two parties would do much better than current predictions. He said Yisrael Beytenu had received a poll from Shvakim Panorama pollster Yossi Vadana predicting 37 to 38 seats for the joint list.

“Usually my gut feelings are more accurate than any poll,” Liberman said. “I have argued with pollsters and I was always right. But I got a poll predicting 37 to 38 mandates for us and I am sure it will be even higher. I am sure we’ll get at least 40 mandates.”

Liberman said that in order to prevent smaller factions from being able to extort the government, Likud-Beytenu required 45 seats. He said Labor, Yesh Atid and The Tzipi Livni Party would beg to join the coalition.

While in the past Liberman has insisted on Likud Beytenu keeping the construction and housing and interior portfolios, in his speech to a crowd made up of members of kibbutzim and moshavim, he said his party would also claim the agriculture portfolio.

Liberman praised the nation’s farmers for working the land, maintaining it and protecting it for the Jewish people. He said a minister from his party like MK Faina Kirschenbaum or Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch would better than MKs on the Left in representing the kibbutzim and moshavim as agriculture minister.

“[Labor leader] Shelly Yacimovich doesn’t represent the farmers, the periphery or the immigrants,” Liberman said.

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“She represents the state of north Tel Aviv, the people who live between north Tel Aviv and Kfar Shmaryahu.

Meretz represents the Palestinians in Israel, not the kibbutzim and moshavim,” the Yisrael Beytenu leader said.

In response to Liberman’s comments, Yacimovich on Wednesday described the former foreign minister as “corrupt, extremist and shameless.”

In a speech at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Yacimovich asserted that Liberman “never lifted a finger for the periphery specifically and the public in general, and not even for immigrants from the former Soviet Union, whom he purports to represent.”

Yacimovich attributed Liberman’s attack against her to panic over his indictment, and concluded by saying that “it is shameful that a man like him would be placed second after the prime minister on the Likud-Beytenu list and that he receives warm hugs from [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu on every stage.”
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