(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Center-left politicians and parties called on Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman
to resign, after he was indicted for fraud and breach of trust on
Labor Party leader Shelly Yacimovich called a press conference,
saying Liberman should leave his post as soon as possible.
“If he does
not resign, I call for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to fire him immediately
and put someone else in the second slot in Likud Beytenu,” she said. “If this
does not happen, I call for Attorney- General Yehuda Weinstein to force the
prime minister to do so. That would be the minimum [Weinstein] can do after his
problematic behavior in the year and a half that passed since he announced the
Yacimovich called the indictment “serious,” indicating that
Liberman cannot remain foreign minister for another minute.
chairwoman accused the foreign minister of threatening democracy, the rule of
law and the public’s faith in government.
“This shows a connection
between government, the wealthy and the underworld.
Liberman is a
completely corrupt minister,” she said. “Now we understand his wildness in
recent days – it was meant to distract us. I want the public to be more critical
of its representatives.”
Yacimovich quipped that even if someone is not
convicted because of a lack of evidence, he is not “white as
“Elected officials must be fair and honest. The public must demand
that its representatives set an example,” she said.
It is important to
look at the cup as half full, Yacimovich remarked, because Liberman’s indictment
shows that the court system and democracy work, and that someone as powerful as
the foreign minister can be brought to justice.
“This is a sad day,
because we’re looking at elected officials and saying ‘oy vey, what happened to
us,’” Labor Knesset candidate Miki Rosenthal, a journalist known for fighting
corruption, said. “This story looks like it comes from a movie. Our politics
suffer from people like Liberman and Olmert, but we’re getting rid of them one
by one, and that is very good.”
The Tzipi Livni Party said Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu and Liberman should act according to the legal norm, and that
the former should fire the latter.
“Whoever is found guilty of fraud and
breach of trust is not worthy of serving as a minister in the Israeli
government,” MK Shlomo Molla (Tzipi Livni Party) said. “This is a serious
accusation that exposes Liberman’s real interests, which are not related to the
good of the citizens of the country he represents.”
“It cannot be that a
man who, according to the attorney-general, hurt the public and acted under a
serious conflict of interest with his commitment to the public, can continue to
serve in the government and represent Israel in the world,” Yesh Atid chairman
Yair Lapid said. He called for Liberman to leave his post as foreign minister as
soon as possible.
If Liberman does not resign, Meretz chairwoman Zehava
Gal-On plans to petition the High Court of Justice to force him to do
“The High Court says ministers must act honestly and morally, but
Liberman was a bully, behaved corruptly and tricked the public,” she
Gal-On added that Liberman’s recent statements against European
governments were meant to distract attention from his indictment, and prove he
is using his position to cause irreversible harm to Israel.
Knesset Control Committee chairman Uri Ariel (National Union) said Liberman’s
indictment shows that the attorney-general and the state attorney “torture”
senior public officials.
“Weinstein needs to think about why he did not
publicize his decision two years ago, as he promised, especially in light of his
conclusions,” Ariel said.