Tying Knesset seats with Gantz’s Kahol Lavan could come at the expense of Netanyahu's natural coalition partners on the right
Avigdor Lieberman is the head of the Yisrael Beiteinu party, and is the former defense minister in the government of Benjamin Netanyahu.
Lieberman was born in 1958 in Moldova. His birth name was Evet, but when he and his family immigrated to Israel in 1978, he changed his name to Avigdor. In Israel, he served in the Artillery Corps of the Israel Defense Forces, and later earned a B.A. in International Relations and Political Science from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Lieberman was one of the founders of the Zionist Forum for Soviet Jewry. He has also been a member of the Board of the Jerusalem Economic Corporation, the Secretary of the Jerusalem branch of the Histadrut Ovdim Le'umit (national workers' union) and editor of the Yoman Yisraeli newspaper.
From 1993 to 1996, Lieberman served as Director-General of the Likud movement, and then as Director-General of the Prime Minister's Office from 1996 to 1997, during Benjamin Netanyahu’s first tenure as premier.
In 1999, Lieberman founded and became head of Yisrael Beiteinu, and was elected to the Knesset for the first time, when his party won four seats. During his initial stint in the Knesset, Lieberman served as a member of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and State Control Committee, and as Chairman of the Israel-Moldova Parliamentary Friendship League. In March of 2001, Lieberman was appointed Infrastructure Minister, but he resigned the post in March 2002. He was re-elected in January 2003 as part of a joint list with the far-right National Union, and received the transportation portfolio. In spring 2004 he was ousted from the cabinet by then-prime minister Ariel Sharon over his opposition to Sharon's plan to withdraw completely from Gaza.
In the 2006 national elections, Yisrael Beiteinu won 11 seats, and was initially in opposition. But after a few months, Lieberman and then-prime minister Ehud Olmert signed a coalition agreement under which Lieberman was appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Strategic Affairs. The latter position was created specifically to focus on the Iranian regime and its nuclear aspirations. Even so, Lieberman once again left the government after disagreeing with Olmert’s “land-for-peace” policies vis-a-vis the Palestinians.
In the 2009 general elections, Yisrael Beiteinu continued its rise in prominence, winning 15 seats in parliament and becoming Israel’s third largest political party, behind Likud and Kadima, and ahead of the once powerful Labor. In March 2009, Lieberman was appointed deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs by Netanyahu. In 2016 he joined Netanyahu's government as defense minister.
Lieberman announced his resignation from his post as defense minister and his party's withdrawal from the ruling coalition toward the end of 2018, throwing the country in political turmoil potentially resulting in early elections. His resignation came in the wake of a cease-fire agreements with Hamas, that he opposed.
Lieberman’s policies throughout the years, especially regarding a future peace solution with the Palestinians, have been controversial, and some comments about Arab Knesset members have also gained him notoriety. He has rejected previous peace formulas, such as land for peace, and has advocated transferring the Israeli Arab population to a Palestinian state, also known as the “Populated-Area Exchange Plan.” Despite being seen by many - both domestically and internationally - as an obstacle to peace, Lieberman has stated that he supports the idea of a future Palestinian state in principle. He also stated his willingness to move his wife and three children from their home in the settlement of Nokdim should Israel withdraw from the West Bank.
Lieberman has been questioned over allegations of corruption, which he has denied, and has recently been linked to an investigation into a corrupt Jerusalem building project. He has been accused of racist attitudes toward Arabs and of intolerance toward religious Jews.
Local leaders fear disagreement over responsibilities and a lack of coordination between the military and the national emergency authority damage Israelis' readiness for war
The Tel Aviv launch of Yisrael Beiteinu’s election campaign reflected Lieberman’s unique mix of bullying, cynicism and a surprising degree of self-awareness
Avigdor Lieberman, the bellicose former coalition kingmaker, known for his fulsome praise for Putin, hoped his dramatic resignation as defense minister a month ago would reap him electoral dividends. But his brand of Russian-speaking special-interest politics is going out of style
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The Defense Ministry’s security department is among the state’s most highly classified units, responsible, among other things, for the nuclear research center in the Negev ■ Decision was not implemented, Netanyahu is examining the matter
Decision to increase the number of attorneys raises speculation that he's seeking indictments for only the most minor charges – fraud and breach of trust
No government has ever prostituted Israel’s security like this. Whatever Netanyahu and his government want to conceal, they hide behind 'security.' And it will continue, as long as the public is willing to swallow it
A defeat of such of motion would have required the opposition to wait another six months to reintroduce it, so the opposition is waiting for a more opportune time, one source said
Analysis By Sending Top Security Official on Political Mission, Netanyahu Blurs Line Between Right and Wrong
Meir Ben-Shabbat denied his visit to a religious-Zionist leader had political content, but added he was pleased that putting off elections had 'prevented enemies from celebrating'
Israeli TV investigation looks for answers but ends up with questions about a 20-year-old scandal, in which Lieberman allegedly convinced Russian officials to fix the ruble's exchange rate to save an Austrian bank
Invoking Security Situation, Netanyahu Warns of 'Irresponsible' Early Elections: 'I Have a Clear Plan'
'I risked my life time after time to safeguard our lives here in the Land of Israel,' Netanyahu says as he assumes defense portfolio ■ Source says Bennett and Shaked will resign if Bennett not appointed defense minister
Army chief presented cabinet with grim scenarios: A war in which Israel conquers the Strip, or weeks of violence after which the sides are back where they started
Analysis After Gaza Debacle, Netanyahu Is No Wounded Lion but a Deer Caught in the Headlights of an Approaching Vehicle
Unlike Ariel Sharon, who also defied public opinion by urging restraint, the current prime minister is prone to choking under pressure
51 percent of Israelis think Bennett should not be given the defense portfolio ■ 24 percent think he's right for the job
It was after his appointment that Avigdor Lieberman began to grasp the strategic reality. Still, signs of relief were apparent when he announced his resignation
Early elections decided on after Netanyahu-Bennett meeting, sources say ■ Netanyahu denies, voices opposition to dissolving right-wing government
Outgoing defense minister says he can't remember whether he tried to push Hamas leader's assassination, accuses cabinet ministers of being two-faced
This week Netanyahu underwent what leaders hate most: loss of control. With Lieberman out and Bennett breathing down his neck to wrest the defense portfolio, the PM is holding tight to his seat
Bibi has retained his hold on power thanks to a strong economy. He should be grateful to Lieberman for forcing an election before it all goes bust
Since the 2016 U.S. election, Facebook has come under criticism for propagating rumors, false reports and ads that spread xenophobia and smear rivals. The 'post-truth' era isn’t going anywhere
Education minister, who heads Habayit Hayehudi party, says country has made the mistake of thinking there is no solution to terrorism
Day after Lieberman quits, Finance and Interior ministers tell Netanyahu Israel needs a new government "as soon as possible"
Ex-defense chief's initiative will encourage kidnappings and undermine efforts to combat terror, Shin Bet official says at hearing for the proposed legislation
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked reiterates her party chair Naftali Bennett's threat that if he doesn't receive the defense portfolio, Habayit Hayehudi 'must set a date for elections'
What would have been just another time Hazan was banned from the Knesset for his extravagant behavior might turn into a political headache for the premier after defection from Lieberman made his coalition fragile
The ex-defense chief, who once vowed he would assassinate Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh within 48 hours, will reap little benefit from his attempt to outflank Netanyahu from the right
From the moment that Lieberman resigned, the financial professionals have been watching with concern: a stressed prime minister, and an even more stressed finance minister, are not an auspicious way to start the year
In Israel, avoiding war is perceived as defeatism. But that’s what Netanyahu does, while Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid talks about employing force like the other demagogues on the left and right
Israel is being drawn into a partial and fragile deal years too late and made from so weak a position it’s a wonder Netanyahu, Lieberman and Bennett dare show their faces in public