Even if Lieberman Is Forced to Step Down, Yisrael Beiteinu Will Push On, Minister Vows

Last week the attorney general said that a decision on whether to indict Lieberman will be made by the end of February.

Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said over the weekend that his party, Yisrael Beiteinu, would prevail even if its chairman, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, is indicted.

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein said last week that a decision on whether to indict Lieberman will be made by the end of February.

Lieberman is under investigation on charges of bribery, fraud, money laundering, witness harassment and obstruction of justice.

Lieberman has said repeatedly that if indicted he will step down from his positions as foreign minister, Knesset member and chairman of Yisrael Beiteinu.

A senior source in the party said yesterday: "No one really knows what Lieberman will do except Lieberman. He can keep the party in the government and control things from the outside, he can retire on some pretext, and in any case, there are no such assessments; they have promised an indictment many times and it has not been issued."

In recent weeks, Lieberman has reinforced his position in the coalition and among his voters with his successful fight for the law on conversions in the military and following the split in Labor. He has also raised high-profile issues on the party's agenda, such as the establishment of a committee to investigate left-wing groups.

At the end of the week, Yisrael Beiteinu's ministers and MKs will hold their annual meeting at a Dead Sea hotel, where Lieberman will present the party's achievements and goals for the coming year.