Liberman must resign immediately, Center-Left says

Labor, Yesh Atid, Meretz and The Tzipi Livni party demand foreign minister step down over fraud, breach of trust charges.

By
December 13, 2012 16:58
3 minute read.
Liberman at Knesset

Liberman370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

 
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Center-left politicians and parties called on Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman to resign, after he was indicted for fraud and breach of trust on Thursday.

Labor Party leader Shelly Yacimovich called a press conference, saying Liberman should leave his post as soon as possible.

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“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 indictment.”

Yacimovich called the indictment “serious,” indicating that Liberman cannot remain foreign minister for another minute.

The Labor 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.”

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Yacimovich quipped that even if someone is not convicted because of a lack of evidence, he is not “white as snow.”

“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 so.

“The High Court says ministers must act honestly and morally, but Liberman was a bully, behaved corruptly and tricked the public,” she said.

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.

Meanwhile, 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.

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