AG Urged to Investigate Nature of Lieberman's Secret Vienna Visit

Following Haaretz's report, MKs Yacimovich and Freij demand clarification as to whether Lieberman took a private trip on the taxpayer's dime.

ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
Former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi
ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

MK Issawi Freij (Meretz) sent a letter on Tuesday to Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, requesting he investigate Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's secret trip to Vienna, as revealed by Haaretz.

Labor Party MK Shelly Yacimovich also called on Lieberman to disclose the reasons for his Vienna visit, saying that even though his meeting with businessman Martin Schlaff was a grave matter, taking a private trip on the taxpayer's dime was far worse.

The secret visit and the meeting with Schalff, Yacimovich said, "look bad and raise serious suspicions of a trip meant for private political needs while using Israel's foreign relations, state funds, and Lieberman's status as foreign minister. Lieberman must reveal to the public the details and goals of the trip, including the reasons why it was kept from the media and senior Foreign Ministry officials, the nature of his relationship with Schlaff and who paid for Vienna detour and the stay there."

Lieberman’s office confirmed on Monday that he held “sensitive diplomatic meetings” over the weekend in Vienna, where he also met with an Austrian businessman Martin Schlaff. The trip had been kept secret from most of the ministry’s high-ranking officials, and took the Austrian Foreign Ministry by surprise as well.

MK Freij wrote to the AG that since Schlaff is the only person known to have met with Lieberman, Weinstein should investigate whether the foreign minister did indeed hold "sensitive diplomatic meetings" or travel to Vienna in a private visit paid for by the taxpayer.

"Did sensitive diplomatic meetings take place in Vienna?" Freij asked in the letter. "What was their nature? Why wasn't the visit coordinated with the Austrian Foreign Ministry?"

Lieberman's travels should be paid for by the state, Freij wrote, "as long as the foreign minister travels on Israel's behalf… but if the Vienna visit was first and foremost concerned with private meetings, there is no reasons the state should carry the costs of flying the foreign minister and his entourage and of their stay." Lieberman has a right to visit his friends, he added, "but not on our dime."

In the event that Weinstein finds that Lieberman's visit was mostly a private matter, the AG should force the foreign minister to pay back the costs of the trip "and look into the possibility of trying him for using state funds for his private needs," writes Freij.



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

Already signed up? LOG IN


Palestinians search through the rubble of a building in which Khaled Mansour, a top Islamic Jihad militant was killed following an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, southern Gaza strip, on Sunday.

Gazans Are Tired of Pointless Wars and Destruction, and Hamas Listens to Them

Trump and Netanyahu at the White House in Washington, in 2020.

Three Years Later, Israelis Find Out What Trump Really Thought of Netanyahu

German soldier.

The Rival Jewish Spies Who Almost Changed the Course of WWII

Rio. Not all Jewish men wear black hats.

What Does a Jew Look Like? The Brits Don't Seem to Know

Galon. “I’m coming to accomplish a specific mission: to increase Meretz’s strength and ensure that the party will not tread water around the electoral threshold. If Meretz will be large enough, it will be the basis for a Jewish-Arab partnership.” Daniel Tchetchik

'I Have No Illusions About Ending the Occupation, but the Government Needs the Left'

Soldiers using warfare devices made by the Israeli defense electronics company Elbit Systems.

Russia-Ukraine War Catapults Israeli Arms Industry to Global Stage