Liberman to be acting prime minister this week

Foreign Minister will be acting prime minister for less than two days during Netanyahu's trip to Russia.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
November 18, 2013 01:28
1 minute read.
Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman.

Avigdor Liberman 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Amir Cohen)

 
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Just two weeks after his acquittal on corruption charges, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman will reach the pinnacle of Israeli politics on Wednesday and Thursday, when he will be prime minister.

Actually, acting prime minister – and for less than two days, during Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s trip to Russia.

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An antiquated law requires the appointment of a substitute when the prime minister is abroad. Former prime minister Ariel Sharon decided that Ehud Olmert would fill in for him every time he left the country, but Netanyahu has asked different ministers to fill in for him on different trips.

In his last term, vice premiers Moshe Ya’alon and Silvan Shalom alternated as acting prime minister. During most of Netanyahu’s departures from Israel in the current government, the acting prime minister was Ya’alon or Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz.

When Netanyahu went to Poland with Ya’alon and Steinitz, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch filled in.

Ya’alon and Shalom will both be abroad when Netanyahu will be in Russia.

Steinitz will be in the country, but Netanyahu chose Liberman instead.

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“We are not bothered by who gets the title of acting prime minister for two days,” a source close to Steinitz said.

Wednesday will a sensitive time, because the talks between the P5+1 countries and Iran will be taking place in Geneva.

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