Knesset okays Lieberman appointment
Israel Beiteinu chairman to become vice premier, minister for strategic affairs.
By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN, JPOST STAFF
October 30, 2006 13:55
1 minute read.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Israel Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman's appointment to minister of strategic affairs was officially approved by the Knesset Monday night in a vote of 61 in favor to 38 opposed.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's Cabinet voted 22-1 earlier Monday to bring Israel Beiteinu into the government and approved Lieberman's appointment as vice premier and minister for strategic affairs with primary focus on the Iranian nuclear issue.
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Israel Beiteinu's 11 lawmakers would bring Olmert's parliamentary majority to 78 out of 120 seats.
"Today the government accepted the decision to include MK Avigdor Lieberman into the coalition," said Olmert following the vote.
"He will join the government as a deputy prime minister, and with the role of dealing with strategic threats against Israel," continued the prime minister.
"I am happy about the addition, and I am pleased to see Labor's position on the matter, and, in particular, the position of the leader of the Labor party. Such a position will only help to strengthen the coalition," he said.
Olmert stressed that Lieberman would not take any authority away from any of the other ministers, and will focus only on his own responsibilities.
Olmert also reaffirmed that the government would continue to focus on the issue of the Palestinians, enforcement of UN resolution 1701 and the growing Iranian nuclear threat.
Simultaneously, the cabinet approved the appointment of Labor Faction Chairman Ephraim Sneh as deputy defense minister.
All the cabinet ministers approved Lieberman's addition apart from Paz-Pines.
MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List-Ta'al) said that "Israel's No. 1 fascist" had been upgraded to deputy prime minister and minister.
He said that Lieberman's appointment was a message to the entire Arab world that "this government advocates rejectionism and the absence of a political process."
On Monday evening, the Knesset will convene to officially approve Israel Beiteinu's addition together with Lieberman's new appointments.
AP contributed to this report