Text size

"Youthful indiscretion": The forgiving term Supreme Court Justice Aharon Barak gave to Tzachi Hanegbi's brutality in his younger days still applies to Hanegbi's former friend - and some say arms bearer - Avigdor Lieberman, even in his 50s. In Lieberman's case, you cannot rely on human instinct to guide him, or on the high office pouring new content into its holder. Ariel Sharon's physics law ("What you see from here, you don't see from there" ) also applies upon entering Lieberman's office. From the left he sees exactly what he sees from the right. And from his high standing as foreign minister, he sees precisely what the hilltop youth see.

Thirty-three years since the merry days of his youth at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Lieberman is "Yvet" - his original Russian name - once again. But this time, in place of the lawns of the university, he is choosing the golden sands of the Negev as the arena for his re-erupting youth. And thus a son of Kishinev comes to expel the sons of the Negev. The man who arrived in Israel against a backdrop of cries of "Let my people go!" comes to send another people out of its homeland, or at least out of its village.

It took him just a year, after arriving in Israel in the late '70s, to become part of the radical-right experience. And before he even knew the neighborhood grocery store, he was already knocking at the gates of Meir Kahane's movement. Guided by his opportunistic instinct, he promptly switched to the Likud, from whose ranks emerged a thuggish student group called Kastel - one of whose mischievous actions against Arab students and Jewish democrats featured iron chains as study aids.

After he advocated exchanging lands - including the Arabs that resided upon them - and after his "loyalty versus citizenship" slogan, the time had come to make matters personal, this time with the Arabs of the Negev. It is not enough for Yvet that an entire government is working on this national mission; he comes to rub more pepper and salt on the wound. Because if you don't feel the abuse, there is no pleasure. Let Yvet rejoice.

Meanwhile, amid the desert conquests, he attempted to besmirch the Arabs as though they were in favor of Syria's President Bashar Assad. And in all the hullabaloo, he forgot that just a few days earlier, he had sat down, joyful and with a happy heart, with Russian President Vladimir Putin, his and Assad's own spiritual father - the man who supplies the Syrian regime with weapons and diplomatic backing. The vast majority of Arabs in Israel detest Assad and his horrific crimes, but they also detest the hypocrisy of the leaders of the occupation, who shed crocodile tears over the Syrians' fate.

The man, who is unwanted in the Negev, comes to expel a Bedouin from his tent, and at the same time demands that he shoulder the military burden. What audacity and what burden? Human beings who are living without electricity, without water; people who are being threatened with transfer to large and suffocating population centers, which run counter to the spirit of the desert - a spirit that is embodied in wide-open spaces. These people are being asked to shoulder the burden? Is it the burden of removing themselves from their lands? This absurdity works only in Israel. And with this incitement in the background, Yvet will pick up a few more Knesset seats and many more racists will emerge.

At the end of the Negev tour, Yvet vowed to deal with MK Talab al-Sana. The Arabs are used to being dealt with, and one more time won't make much difference. But we learn from the experience of history that the likes of Yvet also take care of anyone who dares to get intervene with his plans. So know this, Arab or Jewish democrat: Yvet's dealings will get you yet.