Avigdor Lieberman’s apparently inexorable rise in Israeli politics continues.
The blowhard nationalist, former nightclub bouncer and secular sectarian who would rather a pure Jewish state than countenance equal rights for Jews and non-Jews, now holds the second most powerful ministry in the country.
Lieberman’s record suggests this could either end unremarkably or very, very badly indeed. Between shooting from the hip and bending to prevailing winds – also known as political pragmatism – there doesn’t seem to be a lot of substance.
Even by the questionable standards of Israeli politics, the defense portfolio is a huge gift to a man who was convicted of a 1999 assault on a 12-year-old boy and has been implicated in a major corruption investigation.
That is without taking into account countless incendiary comments about Palestinians, for whom he is trying to introduce their very own death penalty, Palestinian citizens of Israel, who he wants to expel, and foreign politicians.
When Hosni Mubarak was president of Egypt, Lieberman told him he should either visit Israel or “go to hell.”
More recently, he has hurled insults at Swedish foreign minister Margot Wallstrom.
Responding to Wallstrom’s call for an investigation into Israel’s extrajudicial executions of Palestinians earlier his year, Lieberman claimed the “only thing” she hadn’t done yet was to “physically join Palestinian terrorists and stab Jews.” more