Yisrael Beytenu announces new party list in Jerusalem, January 19, 2015.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman presented Yisrael Beytenu’s new list to the Knesset featuring several new faces, on Monday evening in Jerusalem.
MK Orly Levy-Abecasis was put in second place after Liberman and is expected to get a ministerial post if Yisrael Beytenu is in the next coalition. She was followed by Absorption Minister Sofa Landver, Safed Mayor Ilan Shohat, journalist Sharon Gal, MK Hamad Amar, who is Druse, Yisrael Beytenu faction chairman Robert Ilatov and Absorption Ministry director- general Oded Forer.
When asked how she felt about topping the list, Levy-Abecasis said “there are no personal feelings here; I put them aside while we are in this struggle that we have to win together.”
No fewer than eight of the party’s current MKs are expected to be left out of the next Knesset. MK Alex Miller was bumped to 11th place, MK Leon Litinetsky to 12th and MK Shimon Ohayon to 14th. In addition, Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir, Tourism Minister Uzi Landau, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, Knesset Law, Constitution and Justice Committee chairman David Rotem and Deputy Interior Minister Faina Kirschenbaum all said they would not seek reelection.
Liberman expressed hope that Kirschenbaum, who is currently under investigation on suspicion of corruption, will return to the party’s list “when the cloud lifts.”
Liberman put his longtime adviser Ashley Perry in 20th spot on the list.
Perry, 40, moved to Israel from the UK in 2001 and has worked for Liberman in the Foreign Ministry and on Yisrael Beytenu’s English-language campaigns for the past six years.
“It’s an honor and a distinct privilege to be asked to run for Knesset,” Perry told The Jerusalem Post. “As an immigrant from England, it is part of the Zionist dream to run and serve in any way I can – as I have in various positions over the past six years.”
Another surprise on the list is Shira Misterial, the 24-year-old chairwoman of Ariel University Student Union.
Misterial did not purge her Facebook page before the announcement, which included a post from 2010 with a photo of two teens being hit by a car, reading: “Ughhhhhhh, smellyyyyyy Arab... Whoever didn’t see YouTube video ‘Arab being run over’!!! Have an excellent night.”
The clip in question was one of Arabs throwing rocks at City of David chairman David Be’eri, and Be’eri continuing to drive, which made headlines at the time.
Liberman said Yisrael Beytenu is “the only party that can lead on diplomatic and security issues. We didn’t vote for the [Gaza] disengagement or keep Hamas in power.”
The Yisrael Beytenu leader repeated his stance that Israeli Arabs must pledge loyalty to the state, suggesting Israel be like the United States, where citizens pledge allegiance to the flag from an early age.
“A Palestinian state would be Judenrein, while we have a 20 percent minority that has animosity for Israel. Some of them identify with ISIS. It can’t be ignored.
[MK Haneen] Zoabi can’t be ignored,” he said.
Liberman also warned against paying attention to polls, which gave Yisrael Beytenu an average of six seats last week, saying that “those who have a clear philosophy always win.”