Israel Deserves Lieberman as Prime Minister

Let's welcome back our next prime minister, who will expose Israel's true face to the world.

Gideon Levy
Gideon Levy
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Gideon Levy
Gideon Levy

The Israeli Alfred Dreyfus has been cleared of all guilt; the Israeli Joerg Haider returns to power fortified: Now he's also the victim. The first Avigdor Lieberman was a strong leader. The second Avigdor Lieberman may prove even stronger. The conclusion? Knock, knock, who's there? It's the new prime minister! Actually, Israel deserves Lieberman as prime minister, and he deserves to lead its government. The moral turpitude of which Lieberman has been cleared plagues the country just the same. Now the masquerade will end. John Kerry can begin packing, and Tzipi Livni can start working on her letter of resignation. Trust Lieberman – he's a man of his word.

Lieberman's word will resonate throughout the country and the world, and expose Israel's true face. His acquittal demonstrates the corruption running rampant in Israeli society, where an elected official can make millions through his daughter and chauffeur, avoid being put on trial, and not even have to forfeit his political career. A society that accepts Lieberman, acquitted or not, is a corrupt society. It is a society where everything is decided in court, without social norms or public judgment.

The return of Lieberman is also the return of truth in advertising: no more stupid negotiations that in any case were going nowhere, no Mahmoud Abbas, no nothing. After a short comic interlude, during which the bully from Nokdim took a short break due to some nonsense, we shall now return to our Garden of Eden. An Eden for the "rule of law" in a country where the state prosecutor and the scandalous attorney general will find it even harder to put politicians on trial; an Eden for racial slurs, for nationalism, for arrogance, for "national pride," for might makes right, for military solutions, for the ongoing occupation, for settlements, for Israeli naysaying and perhaps for bombing Iran. An Eden for the return of the population transfer as an idea and the exchange of lands and population as a solution. An Eden for cynicism. An Eden for the delegitimization of Arab citizens and their representatives in the Knesset, an Eden for the declaration of loyalty and the persecution of the left.

Not that all of these were ever lacking in the Israeli public discourse, but let's face it, Lieberman's return is a welcome phenomenon. Let the Israelis and the world know: Look at Lieberman, and you'll see us.

Large parts of Israeli society supported Lieberman's ideas. Even among those who didn't, many admired his "seriousness," his "directness," his "word," and of course, his power. Now their numbers will rise, after the "harassment" he's been through. There are not many people who have contaminated Israeli society the way he has; Israel has not had many demagogues as dangerous and inflammatory as him.

We've managed to forget his comparison between Yesh Gvul (the movement opposing military service in the occupied territories) and kapos, and his demand to put on trial Arab MKs who met with Hamas. We've forgotten his directive to Israeli ambassadors to stop "groveling," and we've forgotten he once resigned from the government, in January 2008, because it had dared to discuss core issues. The fortified Lieberman, 2nd generation, will play an even heavier hand and will represent Israel faithfully. If in 2009 Time magazine chose him as one of the world's most influential people, its editors can already put his name on next year's list.

The gloating at Lieberman's fate should now be stored away. It should be replaced by the consolation that the voice of Israeli deceivers around the world will from now on be hushed. Lieberman doesn't believe in peace, and neither does Israel. We've had enough of Bar-Ilan speeches and the hollow talk of Benjamin Netanyahu and Shimon Peres. Those who did not dare indict Lieberman for the real affairs have now been rightly punished with this acquittal. Those who did not want to promote a peace settlement will now get Lieberman to veto any chance of one. What else can we ask, children of Eden, at the height of these marvelous Edenic days.

A smiling Lieberman as he arrives in the courtroom before hearing the verdict in his corruption trial on Wednesday.Credit: AP

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