When Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman retook his ministerial oath in the Knesset on November 11, 2013, he was not just returning to his powerful position in the Foreign Ministry. The deputy prime minister was also reclaiming his place as the most influential person in Israel after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.Less than a week after his acquittal on charges of fraud and breach of trust by a Jerusalem court, it marked the end of a grueling legal battle for Liberman. “After 17 years, I’m putting this chapter in my life behind me,” Liberman said. “I missed him in the government,” said Netanyahu.His good name, besmirched by the legal system and the local media, had finally been cleared. Liberman, who was born in Kishinev, Moldova, in 1958, changed his first name from Yvet when his family made aliya in 1978.After serving in the IDF, he famously worked as a bouncer during his BA studies in international relations and political science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 2013, the ex-bouncer bounced back.
Known as a tough but charming diplomat, the straight-shooting Liberman is respected by friends and foes alike for telling it like it is. A diplomatic hawk and social liberal, he is now in a position to significantly impact the coming year in Israel both on the international stage and domestically. For that reason, The Jerusalem Post has invited Liberman to be a keynote speaker at its annual conference in New York on April 6, 2014.Read more person of the year articles:Person of the year in Middle East diplomacy: Hassan Rouhani Person of the year in International Affairs: Denise Williams and the South African pressPerson of the year in Israeli diplomacy: Shimon PeresPerson of the year in the IDF: The C4i Corps
Person of the year in Israeli crime: The Felician family
'Person' of the year in energy and environment: A girl named Tamar
Person of the year in the Syrian crisis: Israeli health care professional
Person of the Year in US Mideast Policy: Susan Rice
Person of the year in Israeli sports: Yarden Gerbi