Elections 2009 / Lieberman Gets a Cool Welcome From Western Wall Worshippers

Yisrael Beiteinu leader, said to be willing to divide Jerusalem, visits site 12 hours before polls open.

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With a look of amusement on their faces, some women glanced over to the men's side to sneak a peak at Yisrael Beiteinu head MK Avigdor Lieberman. Wearing a skullcap and a contemplative look on his face, Lieberman chose to spend a few seconds at the Western Wall - 12 hours before the opening of the ballot boxes. The celebrity of the election polls opted not to answer questions.

One of the women recommended that they say a few prayers so that Lieberman will fail in the election.

An older yeshiva student complained that Lieberman's presence there was disrespectful. "He came here to be photographed," he said.

Lieberman, who has attacked the ultra-Orthodox parties and was described by the right as willing to divide Jerusalem (he has said that he agrees to relinquish the Arab neighborhoods of the capital to a future Palestinian state as part of a population/territory exchange deal), touched the stones lightly and was quick to break contact. He was soon in his car and out of sight.

To judge by the response of those praying at the site, Lieberman will not enjoy a predicted massive victory at the polls.

Yossi, who wears a knitted skullcap, described Lieberman as a "hoax" like Ariel Sharon.

"You vote right and you get the left," he said.

Ultra-Orthodox men called him "a hater of Judaism," language used recently by Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.

Only one elderly Haredi man spoke in Lieberman's favor.

"His daughter has become religious," he said. "He loves Israel and will help us all. May God bless him."