Avigdor Liberman .
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Avigdor Liberman tendered his resignation from the Defense Ministry in a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday morning.
His resignation will take effect in 48 hours, and Netanyahu will automatically retain the portfolio, unless and until he appoints someone else as defense minister.
Liberman submitted the letter the morning after a press conference in the Knesset, in which he announced he and his Yisrael Beytenu party would be leaving the coalition, following a ceasefire with Hamas that he said “cannot be interpreted in any way other than a capitulation to terrorism.”
“This will severely harm our security in the long run. The response that we gave to the 500 rockets shot from Gaza was not enough, to say the least. The South should come first. Our weakness is being broadcast to other fronts,” he said.
Following the resignation, the coalition will be left with a one-seat majority. Bayit Yehudi demanded that Education Minister Naftali Bennett be appointed defense minister, or they too will leave the coalition, triggering an election.
Netanyahu spoke to the heads of all coalition parties, in an attempt to try to keep their alliance stable.
With Liberman’s resignation, Yisrael Beytenu MK Yulia Malinovsky will automatically be removed from the Knesset. She became a legislature 2.5 years ago as part of the Norwegian Law, by which a minister may resign from the Knesset, allowing someone to take his or her place, but if the minister leaves the government, he or she gets a seat in the Knesset again, removing the newcomer.Liberman plans to hold a final meeting with the IDF general staff and meet with IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisencot and other senior defense officials.
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