What's the Russian vote in Israel, why does it mainly go for the right-wing, and what was PM Benjamin Netanyahu trying to achieve in his rare prime-time TV interview? Election Overdose podcast – episode 8
Avigdor Lieberman is the head of the Yisrael Beiteinu party, and is the former defense minister in the government of Benjamin Netanyahu.
Lieberman was born in 1958 in Moldova. His birth name was Evet, but when he and his family immigrated to Israel in 1978, he changed his name to Avigdor. In Israel, he served in the Artillery Corps of the Israel Defense Forces, and later earned a B.A. in International Relations and Political Science from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Lieberman was one of the founders of the Zionist Forum for Soviet Jewry. He has also been a member of the Board of the Jerusalem Economic Corporation, the Secretary of the Jerusalem branch of the Histadrut Ovdim Le'umit (national workers' union) and editor of the Yoman Yisraeli newspaper.
From 1993 to 1996, Lieberman served as Director-General of the Likud movement, and then as Director-General of the Prime Minister's Office from 1996 to 1997, during Benjamin Netanyahu’s first tenure as premier.
In 1999, Lieberman founded and became head of Yisrael Beiteinu, and was elected to the Knesset for the first time, when his party won four seats. During his initial stint in the Knesset, Lieberman served as a member of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and State Control Committee, and as Chairman of the Israel-Moldova Parliamentary Friendship League. In March of 2001, Lieberman was appointed Infrastructure Minister, but he resigned the post in March 2002. He was re-elected in January 2003 as part of a joint list with the far-right National Union, and received the transportation portfolio. In spring 2004 he was ousted from the cabinet by then-prime minister Ariel Sharon over his opposition to Sharon's plan to withdraw completely from Gaza.
In the 2006 national elections, Yisrael Beiteinu won 11 seats, and was initially in opposition. But after a few months, Lieberman and then-prime minister Ehud Olmert signed a coalition agreement under which Lieberman was appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Strategic Affairs. The latter position was created specifically to focus on the Iranian regime and its nuclear aspirations. Even so, Lieberman once again left the government after disagreeing with Olmert’s “land-for-peace” policies vis-a-vis the Palestinians.
In the 2009 general elections, Yisrael Beiteinu continued its rise in prominence, winning 15 seats in parliament and becoming Israel’s third largest political party, behind Likud and Kadima, and ahead of the once powerful Labor. In March 2009, Lieberman was appointed deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs by Netanyahu. In 2016 he joined Netanyahu's government as defense minister.
Lieberman announced his resignation from his post as defense minister and his party's withdrawal from the ruling coalition toward the end of 2018, throwing the country in political turmoil potentially resulting in early elections. His resignation came in the wake of a cease-fire agreements with Hamas, that he opposed.
Lieberman’s policies throughout the years, especially regarding a future peace solution with the Palestinians, have been controversial, and some comments about Arab Knesset members have also gained him notoriety. He has rejected previous peace formulas, such as land for peace, and has advocated transferring the Israeli Arab population to a Palestinian state, also known as the “Populated-Area Exchange Plan.” Despite being seen by many - both domestically and internationally - as an obstacle to peace, Lieberman has stated that he supports the idea of a future Palestinian state in principle. He also stated his willingness to move his wife and three children from their home in the settlement of Nokdim should Israel withdraw from the West Bank.
Lieberman has been questioned over allegations of corruption, which he has denied, and has recently been linked to an investigation into a corrupt Jerusalem building project. He has been accused of racist attitudes toward Arabs and of intolerance toward religious Jews.
Anti-Netanyahu bloc resists mergers, the Joint List splits and the far-right joins forces
Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu and Likud are accused of collecting data on voters through the Elector app without their consent
He’s a loudmouth who practices Vipassana, voiciferously attacks Netanyahu at every pass, rails against the trampling of democracy and seeks rapprochement with Israeli Arabs – but this MK belongs to Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu party
Naftali Bennett’s Yamina party is soaring in the polls, but stitching together an alternative coalition will prove more challenging
Yesh Atid is predicted 15 seats – down from its current 17 – with Lapid as a leader, but two less with Ofer Shelah ■ Netanyahu-led bloc has clear majority, according to Channel 12 survey
The opinion polls show that Avigdor Lieberman will be the kingmaker again, while Likud legislators are wallowing in hatred and the settling of accounts
Former defense minister turned opposition figure says everyone knows the identity of the New York Times source who said Israel planted a bomb at an Iranian nuclear site
With legal advisors making it clear that the move was unconstitutional, lawmakers sought to come out of the process unscathed by having the court strike it down for them
Claims to interlocutors that law enforcement has damning info on Lieberman, used it to ‘extort’ him into leaving right-wing bloc
Right-wing Kahol Lavan lawmakers would rather immortalize Netanyahu than be on the same side as the Arabs
The divide in Kahol Lavan over the possibility of a Gantz-led minority government backed by Arab parties is ideological, but also tactical
Gantz working on securing endorsements from the Joint List and Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu ahead of next week's round of consultations with President Rivlin
Amid negotiations with the Joint List, Lapid stresses Arab alliance would support the government's formation, be not be part of it
Earlier the Kahol Lavan leader met with Lieberman, agreeing that the main goal is to avoid a fourth round of elections ■ Gantz to hold meeting with all four leaders of Joint List faction Tuesday
Kahol Lavan also to discuss forming minority government with support of Arab-majority Joint List
Kahol Lavan leader was responds to list of demands by Yisrael Beiteinu chairman, who holds the balance of power between the right and center-left in the incoming Knesset
Analysis Israel Election Results: More Than Just Netanyahu vs. Gantz – This Is the New Political Landscape
The Knesset will now have only eight groupings, the smallest number ever. And if the left keeps imploding, that number can get even lower
Israel's right didn't get the victory it expected – but at least there's corona ■ Netanyahu's 2020 achievement: Boosting the Joint List ■ Left and right, Naftali Bennett and Amir Peretz are waging the same war
Analysis Election Results: Israelis Brought Bibi Back From the Dead, but True Test of Democracy Lies Ahead
With Netanyahu having no clear majority for a governing coalition, President Rivlin could force the Knesset to decide, leaving the defendant to battle the courts alone
Election Results: The Night They Tore Old Israel Down – and Seven More Comments on Netanyahu’s Stunning Triumph
If U.S. Democrats want to see how Trump can beat them in November, they should watch and learn
Haaretz visits the voting districts of Avigdor Lieberman and Benjamin Netanyahu, and doesn’t find much love for either there – while Benny Gantz looks exhausted by it all
Analysis Israel Election: Amid Dirty Campaign, Netanyahu Shows His True Rival Is Still the Justice System
With Israel election Monday, Netanyahu, whose Likud was gaining momentum, sent an implicit threat to his judges in front of the cameras. Can it wake Gantz voters up?
Left-wing alliance leader Amir Peretz says Kahol Lavan could form minority government with outside support from Yisrael Beiteinu, Joint List
Surprises can only come from voter turnout ■ Kahol Lavan could have a shot at government with predominantly Arab Joint List - but is still courting 'Jewish majority'