Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Baz Ratner)
When Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman wants to relax, he plays tennis. When he
wants to put on a show and tell the world he doesn’t care about what’s going on
in the news, he goes to Eastern Europe.
That’s what happened in 2009 when
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sweated over whether Lieberman would recommend
to President Shimon Peres that he form the government, or whether he would issue
a surprise endorsement of Kadima leader Tzipi Livni.
What is Lieberman being accused of?
While all eyes in
politics were on Lieberman, he went to Ukraine on vacation.
official visit to Poland on Tuesday was planned months in advance.
hearing on corruption charges
was scheduled only a month ago.
it was a complete coincidence that Lieberman was in Eastern Europe while his
lawyers were defending him in Jerusalem, it certainly sent a
Lieberman has repeatedly mocked the legal establishment for
investigating him in a series of overlapping probes going all the way back to
1999. Not showing up for the hearing, even though he was under no legal
obligation to attend, enabled Lieberman to broadcast his disdain for the 13-
year legal bombardment and demonstrate how cool he is while his fate is being
No one knows how long it will take Attorney-General Yehuda
Weinstein to decide whether to indict Lieberman.
The inability to make
such a prediction was reinforced by Channel 10 legal analyst Baruch Kra,
estimating it would take two to three months, while almost simultaneously
Channel 2 correspondent Guy Peleg reported it would take a year.
is possible the leaks from Weinstein’s office over the next few days will
already be enough to indicate the strength of his case against
Veteran political analyst Hanan Crystal said Lieberman was
waiting for such leaks to see if the prosecution would be heavy or
He said if the case was light, Lieberman would remain in the
government as long as possible in hopes of a quick trial ending before the next
election takes place.
He predicted if the case was strong, Lieberman
would try to bring down the government by supporting anti-haredi (ultra-Orthodox)
legislation, like Kadima MK Meir Sheetrit’s bill that would dissolve religious
councils. This would enable Lieberman to head Israel Beiteinu in an election
that would be held much sooner.
But Lieberman has said time and again
that his legal issues will play no role in deciding the government’s fate. And
Lieberman has shown over many years that he is a rare politician who tells the
When the time comes for Lieberman to make a decision about his
political future, he could be seen at the Jerusalem Tennis Center, or he might
end up in Eastern Europe again.