Israel's AG Still Avoiding Taking Stance on Reserving Foreign Ministry for Lieberman

Movement for Quality Government sends letter to Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein on saving post for Lieberman until corruption trial is over, joining queries by MK Merav Michaeli and Ometz, a good-government NGO.

Ofra Edelman
Ofra Edelman
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Ofra Edelman
Ofra Edelman

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein has once more chosen not to state his opinion on the propriety of saving the post of foreign minister for MK Avigdor Lieberman, who has been indicted and at present cannot serve as a minister. Weinstein responded in the beginning of the week to a third letter dealing with the issue, this time by the Movement for Quality Government.

As coalition talks progress, all sides involved are aware that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is keeping the Foreign Ministry open for Lieberman, who is awaiting trial for breach of trust. In the past week the attorney general wrote three letters in response to inquiries, but has explicitly failed to address the question in principle.

The first two letters were responses to queries by MK Merav Michaeli and Ometz, a good-government NGO, both of whom had urged Weinstein to order Netanyahu not to reserve the post for Lieberman. These two letters addressed practical questions; Michaeli asked whether the situation might affect the testimony of Foreign Ministry officials in the trial, while Ometz claimed the agreement with Lieberman must be annulled since it wasn’t presented to the Knesset.

The Movement for Quality Government addressed the matter in principle, arguing that Lieberman resigned from the Foreign Ministry immediately following his indictment to fulfill two objectives: the need to safeguard the government’s reputation and the fairness of the trial, in which ministry officials would be testifying about their former, and possibly future, boss.

On Weinstein’s behalf, his aide, attorney Oren Fono, wrote: “The question of MK Lieberman’s appointment to the government in general, and as foreign minister in particular, can only be determined after the process is over.”

A Justice Ministry spokesman refused to respond to the question of why the attorney general preferred to avoid a decision, stating only that “the attorney general’s answer speaks for itself.”

Avigdor Lieberman Credit: Nir Keidar

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