Party chiefs exchange barbs

In another enlightening day on the political stump, on Wednesday Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman accused Labor party head Shelly Yacimovich of being elitist, while Yacimovich responded by calling him corrupt and accusing him of never caring a whit for the weak. "Shelly Yacimovich doesn't represent the kibbutzim, the moshavim, the periphery or the immigrants. Yacimovich ... essentially represents the state of north Tel Aviv," Lieberman told a party conference at Kibbutz Shefayim. Yacimovich, upon hearing of his remarks during a visit to Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Be'er Sheva, immediately shot back, calling the former foreign minister a "corrupt, extreme and shameless person. Lieberman never lifted a finger for the benefit of the public in general, and the periphery in particular, not even for the immigrants ... he presumes to represent." (Jonathan Lis )

Lieberman: I'll be foreign minister again

Former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Wednesday that he believed he would get the foreign affairs portfolio back as soon as his trial for fraud and breach of trust is over. Speaking publicly for the first time about the charges against him during a conference of party faithful, he said he had reviewed the evidence "and you can see that all the evidence submitted totally supports my testimony and contradicts the single testimony against me." He added he was sorely tempted to give examples "to show how great the absurdity is, but the proper place for everything to be clarified is in court." (Jonathan Lis )

Habayit Hayehudi fined NIS 4,000 for use of IDF soldiers in campaign photos

The Central Elections Committee slapped a 4,000 NIS fine on Habayit Hayehudi for using IDF soldiers in two elections ads. The party announced last week that it would halt the ads, which depict four soldiers during combat training, along with the party's name and election letters. One of the soldiers is sporting a kippa and prayer shawl, to underline religious Zionism's role in the army. "The said photo tries to make the impression that the IDF is identified with [Habayit Hayehudi] and that the party is identified with the IDF," protested Central Elections Committee chairman Justice Elyakim Rubinstein. In the second ad, IDF soldiers are seen at the Western Wall. The party said there was no legal problem with the publication of the ads, and clarified that they halted the publication according to their original timetable. Justice Rubinstein rejected the explanation, stating that the ad was illegal, but since the party insisted it would make no further use of the photos, he did not issue an injunction. Rubinstein fined the party NIS 3,000, and ordered it to pay a further NIS 1,000 to Yariv Oppenheimer, Peace Now general director, who lodged the complaint to the Committee. (Jonathan Lis )