Lieberman, Israel Beiteinu MKs [file]_311.
(photo credit: Reuters)
The focus of the new coalition government expected to be approved
Wednesday will be replacing "the Tal Law and dealing with the Ulpana"
controversy, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said in a Wednesday press
Liberman's list of primary issues was notably
different than the four point platform announced by Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu and Kadima party leader Shaul Mofaz in their Tuesday
press conference announcing a deal by which Kadima will join the
government. The foreign minister's list omitted mention of the peace
process, changing the electoral system and the new budget, while
adding the Ulpana controversy.
With regard to the fact that the
new unity government reversed Yisrael Beytenu's push for new elections,
Liberman expressed no disappointment. Rather, he emphasized that the
critical issue was to pass a "serious" replacement to the Tal Law which
will integrate haredim (ultra-Orthodox) into military and national service on a
Liberman said that while he was "ready for
elections at any point," that October 2013 was the date that was "good
for the country" and would save the state money it would have spent on
an election this fall.
The foreign minister also said that his
party has always put the country's best interests ahead of its own
electoral interests, joining the Ehud Olmert government with which he
had many policy differences, in order to strengthen the nation after the
2006 Lebanon War.
Regarding the fact that the unity deal commits
the government to passing Kadima's law
for replacing the Tal Law as
opposed to Yisrael Beytenu's, Liberman said there would be "no war on
taking credit" and all he wanted was to "fight for a serious new law."
the Ulpana controversy
, Liberman said that the "residents are law
abiding citizens, serve in the army, pay taxes, work, do reserve duty."
The Ulpana "is not an illegal outpost. It was the state's mistake. The
residents didn't make a mistake, they were sent there," he continued.
said the solution was legislation legalizing the Ulpana and outposts in
similar circumstances. Otherwise "every month there will be a new
Ulpana if we set this precedent."
Liberman also made clear that
despite rumors to the contrary, he would continue to support Yitzhak
Aharonovich in continuing as Public Security Minister throughout the
government's current term and after the next elections, whenever they
Israeli media reports indicated calls for Aharonovich
to step down following his non-attendance at Tuesday's INTERPOL
conference held for the first-time in Israel. Hosting the conference was
viewed as a major accomplishment for the state, and Aharonovich's
non-attendance was viewed by many as a significant embarrassment.
Finally, Liberman took a shot at Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid, predicting that he had a better chance "to become president of the united states" than he had of his party surviving politically in Israel for an extended period.
Liberman's criticism specifically focused on a provision of Yesh Atid's party constitution mandating that Lapid continue as its leader until the end of the 20th Knesset, which, if elections precede as scheduled, would not be for another five years.