Lieberman Ousts Deputy FM Danny Ayalon From Yisrael Beiteinu List

Ayalon, who sparked outrage in 2010, after making Turkish ambassador to Israel Ahmet Oguz Celikkol sit in a chair lower than his during a meeting, is among the most senior members of the party who won't be running in the next election.

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Foreign Minister and Yisrael Beteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman has apparently ousted MK Danny Ayalon, his deputy foreign minister, from the party list to run in the next Knesset, a source within the party said.

The move comes shortly after two other Yisraeli Beiteinu MKS, Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov and MK Anastassia Michaeli announced their resignation from politics earlier Tuesday. Lieberman announced on Tuesday the party list that will be running on a joint ticket with Likud in the upcoming Israeli elections.

According to a source in Yisrael Beiteinu, “both Misezhnikov and Anastassia’s statements were expected. Lieberman is cleaning the stables in advance of the announcement of the list Tuesday evening. It was clear Lieberman would not include on the list figures, who had blotted their copybooks publicly and had become a laughingstock.”

Ayalon, who has served as an Israeli ambassador to the U.S. is among Yisrael Beteinu's most senior member of the party who won't be running in the next election, along with Misezhnikov. The deputy foreign minister made headlines and sparked outrage in 2010 after making Turkish ambassador to Israel Ahmet Oguz Celikkol sit in a chair lower than his during a meeting, and deliberately not putting the Turkis flag on display. Although Ayalon issued a formal apology at the time to Ankara at President Shimon Peres' request, the issue caused a major rift in Turkey-Israel relations.

Following the announcement, Ayalon stated on his Facebook page: "I was notified today by party chairman Avigdor Lieberman today that I would not be included in Yisrael Beteinu's list for the next Knesset. I had the pleasure of serving as deputy foreign minister of the State of Israel in the last four years, during a complex and challenging period. I will continue to act to help bolster Israel's security, diplomacy and economy, in whatever ways I choose. I am continuing to work diligently, until the end of my term. Tomorrow I will participate in a joint government meeting with the Czech Republic and Germany."

Ayalon is also known for leading Israel's hasbara (PR) efforts and being highly active on Twitter. Last year, as the September date for the first Palestinian appeal for statehood at the UN approached, Ayalon starred in a video looking to delegitmize the bid by arguing that the West Bank is not occupied, but disputed territory. In it Ayalon demands the world stop using the terms "occupied territories" and "1967 borders."

Danny AyalonCredit: Tomer Appelbaum
Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon heightens already tense ties with Turkey by seating Ankara's ambassador on a 'lower chair' during talks in Tel Aviv.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi

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