Lieberman thoughtful 311.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman flexed his political muscles on Monday when
he announced that he would not accept Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s
decision to appoint Netanyahu’s national security adviser Uzi Arad as ambassador
Netanyahu’s office had leaked to Sunday’s Yisrael Hayom
newspaper that he had decided to appoint current ambassador to the United
Kingdom Ron Prosor as the next ambassador to the United Nations and that Arad
would replace Prosor in London.
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Lieberman, who was enraged to learn about
Arad’s appointment from the newspaper, called him and told him he was staying in
“I don’t remember there ever being such massive interference
on key appointments?” Lieberman said at a Knesset press conference. “I read with
shock in one of the newspapers that it was the prime minister who decided to
appoint Prosor and Arad. The prime minister doesn’t have to fight for
credit. It does not befit him. I’ll consider his point of view, but all the
decisions on appointments will be made solely by the foreign
Lieberman said he respected Arad and considered him a
knowledgeable person with good connections internationally but that due to the
circumstances, he would not be ambassador in London. He said he preferred to
appoint an experienced candidate from the Foreign Ministry, noting that the
ministry had diplomats who were born in London.
Netanyahu declined to
respond to Lieberman’s move when the Likud faction convened shortly thereafter.
He also instructed his associates not to respond so as not to play into the
hands of the foreign minister.
“You never regret what you don’t say,” a
source close to Netanyahu said. “Does the prime minister have a choice? He can’t
kick Lieberman out of the coalition.”
Netanyahu’s associates admitted
that the leak to the newspaper was a mistake.
They revealed that even
Arad himself was surprised by the report, which he learned of when he arrived
from a visit to Washington and heard congratulatory messages from London on his
Sources close to Netanyahu said the possible appointment was
discussed with both Lieberman and Arad and neither should have been surprised by
Lieberman denied reports that he was considering taking his Israel
Beiteinu party out of the coalition following an expected decision by the
State’s Attorney’s Office to indict him on corruption charges by the end of the
“The decision of the State’s Attorney will not impact whether
Israel Beiteinu leaves the coalition or stays in the coalition,” he said. “We
don’t want to mislead anyone or allow anyone to celebrate. I’ve said it
dozens of times, but I’ll say it again. We have no intention to
Lieberman said that if the coalition would be run smartly, the
government could last until the end of its term. But he lashed out at the Likud
for preventing the advancement of legislation that is important to Israel
Beiteinu regarding civil marriage, conversion, loyalty oaths, and changing the
“We didn’t expect to implement a hundred percent of
what we agreed on in the coalition agreement, but we thought we could get 70 or
80 percent,” Lieberman said. “We have the power to pass some of the
legislation without the support of the coalition. Our commitment to our
voters comes before our commitment to the coalition.”
already intends to vote against the coalition on Wednesday on a bill opposing
VAT on water and another recognizing IDF conversions. Netanyahu asked his chief
of staff Natan Eshel and coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin to negotiate with
Lieberman and try to reach a compromise.