Lieberman's bank of targets
The body of Lieberman's list is due to merge with the Likud list on Wednesday, according to the zipper system: In the first ten places, apart from Lieberman, only three places for those hailing from the former Soviet Union.
This, in a nutshell, is what the announcement by the primary organizing committee allows: If the members of Yisrael Beiteinu were asked to choose their representatives for the 19th Knesset, the names Stas Misezhnikov, whose lifestyle and allegedly un-ministerial behavior starred in television investigations, and MK Anastassia Michaeli, who gave parliamentary whippersnapperism, ignorance and stupidity a bad name, would appear on the list.
But not on Avigdor Lieberman's list (the "liquidation committee" ). He is not impressed by his voters' collective wisdom, he only trusts his own collective wisdom, and that is a good thing. With sharp observation he threw out the troublemakers, those great embarrassments and screwers of screw-ups, and pushed into the basement the MKs who did not prove themselves: Lia Shemtov and Moshe Matalon. The former, by the way, suggested about a year ago firing diarrhea-inducing gas at Arab demonstrators "because they've already got used to the smell of tear gas."
A place of honor was reserved in Lieberman's bank of targets for his deputy at the Foreign Ministry, Danny Ayalon. The embarrassment he is remembered for - seating the Turkish ambassador on a low couch in a scene staged for the cameras - was two years ago. It seems Lieberman neither forgets nor forgives. Ayalon's ousting from the slate surprised politicians and led to the following assumptions: 1. It was Lieberman's response to the ambassador affair; 2. It was a preliminary step by Lieberman concerning an issue involving Ayalon that has yet to be revealed; 3. It shows that Lieberman does not intend to remain in the Foreign Ministry but seeks the defense portfolio, for which he does not need Ayalon; 4. All of the above.
The body of Lieberman's list is due to merge with the Likud list on Wednesday, according to the zipper system: In the first ten places, apart from Lieberman, only three places for those hailing from the former Soviet Union: Immigrant Absorption Minister Sofa Landver, who is considered a successful minister; party secretary general Faina Kirshenbaum and party whip Robert Ilatov. In second and third places are Yair Shamir and Uzi Landau, the former the son of the late Likud chairman and Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, the latter the son of another senior Herut official, the late minister Haim Landau. And Orly Levi-Abekasis, the daughter of former Foreign Minister David Levy and an outstanding parliamentarian herself, has been moved up to the respectable sixth place.
Is there any need for a stronger hint, or a more transparent message from Lieberman's direction toward Likud members ahead of a merging not only of the candidate lists but also the parties themselves?
Yair Shamir is without a doubt the most intriguing figure on the slate. He will not be a yes man, who swallow his phlegm and blanches when the leader enters the room. Lieberman understands this, yet decided to put Shamir Jr. in second place, which will probably be fourth on the joint Likud-Beiteinu slate and mean a high-ranking ministerial post in the next government.
Lieberman chose to sweeten the painful but unavoidable separation from his longtime friend, Stas Misezhnikov, with a press release in which he heaped praise on Misezhnikov (who was a pretty good tourism minster ) and even claimed that he was due to receive a senior post in the next government, but chose to leave of his own will. A nice gesture, doubtlessly - Lieberman knows how to be a friend as he lowers the ax.
Last night, at the Yisrael Beiteinu convention, Lieberman said Misezhnikov was taking a "time-out," as have greater people than he: Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak. Of that it can be said, in a paraphrase of a well-known adage in American politics; We know Netanyahu and Barak. We work with Netanyahu and Barak. We are (not ) friends of Netanyahu and Barak. Believe us - Misezhnikov is neither Netanyahu nor Barak.