Lieberman to Push New Unity Government to Bypass High Court, Legalize West Bank Outpost

Labor chief Shelly Yachimovich: I am honored to be new opposition leader, first goal is to create an alternative government.

Foreign Minister and Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman said on Wednesday that the main issues facing Israel's new governing coalition are the Tal Law and the West Bank neighborhood Ulpana.

"These are the two most important tests and I hope that we will learn to get through them in the best way," Lieberman said before a Yisrael Beiteinu meeting at the Knesset.

The Tal Law exempted ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students from mandatory military service and was declared unconstitutional by the High Court in February. It will expire in August, compelling the government to deal with the explosive issue.

Ulpana is a neighborhood in the West Bank settlement Beit El. On Monday, the High Court gave the government 60 days to demolish houses in the neighborhood that were illegally-built on private Palestinian land.

Lieberman said that Ulpana is "not an illegal outpost. The state made a mistake. [Ulpana residents] did not make a mistake, they were sent there. The state made a mistake and it should take responsibility. I see no other way than legislation that will solve the issue."

Also on Wednesday, Labor Party Chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich told her party that she is honored to be becoming the head of the opposition in the Knesset.

"This is an incredibly important role and the first goal of the opposition is to create an alternative government," Yachmovich said. "The so-called opposition of the last three years was a complete farce. Therefore, our responsibility is very great."

A Haaretz-Dialog poll published on Wednesday found that most Israelis believe the Likud-Kadima unity deal reached between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Shaul Mofaz earlier this week was driven by personal and political considerations rather than the national good, and few believe the new 94-MK coalition will carry out the promises its leaders made Tuesday.

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Avigdor Lieberman
Tomer Appelbaum