Avigdor Lieberman

Avigdor Lieberman


Date of birth = Birth date and age|1958|6|5|mf=y
Place of birth = Kishinev, Soviet Union
Year of Aliyah = 1978
Date of death =
Knesset(s) = 15th, 16th, 17th (current)
Party = Yisrael Beiteinu
Former parties = National Union
Gov't roles = Deputy Prime Minister
Minister of Strategic Affairs
Minister of Transportation
Minister of National Infrastructure

Avigdor Levi Lieberman ( _he. אביגדור ליברמן, also spelled Liberman, born 5 June 1958) is an Israeli politician and leader of the Yisrael Beiteinu party.

In October 2006, Lieberman and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert signed a coalition agreement. Under the agreement, Lieberman became the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Strategic Affairs, a new position with a focus towards the strategic threat from Iran. [http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3318674,00.html PM, Lieberman sign coalition deal] Ynetnews, October 23, 2006.] However, he left the cabinet when Yisrael Beiteinu resigned from the coalition in January 2008.A polarizing figure within Israeli politics, Lieberman is quoted as saying, "I've always been controversial because I offer new ideas. For me to be controversial, I think this is positive." [ [http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/12/07/news/mideast.php A hard-line Israeli official, Avigdor Lieberman, stakes out extreme positions] ]


Born in Kishinev in the Soviet Union (today Chişinău, Moldova), Lieberman worked as a nightclub bouncer in Moldavia, [ [http://www.tnr.com/politics/story.html?id=1ca859ac-c2ef-48a3-9326-5927c7b3c21b The Father of Palestine] (subscribers-only access), The New Republic, 13 February 2008] and as a broadcaster in Baku before emigrating to Israel in 1978 at the age of 21. In Israel he served in the Israel Defense Forces, and received a BA in International Relations and Political Science from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

From 1983 to 1988 Lieberman helped found the "Zionist Forum for Soviet Jewry" and was a member of the "Board of the Jerusalem Economic Corporation" and the Secretary of the Jerusalem branch of the "Histadrut Ovdim Le'umit" ("National Workers' Union"). From 1993 to 1996 he served as Director-General of the Likud party, and from 1996 to 1997 was Director-General of the Prime Minister's office serving Benjamin Netanyahu. In 1999 he founded the Yisrael Beiteinu party, and was the editor of the newspaper "Yoman Yisraeli" ("Israeli Diary"). Lieberman supports Israeli membership of the European Union and NATO. [ [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/808111.html Avigdor Lieberman: Israel should press to join NATO, EU] , Ha'aretz, January 1, 2007.]

Lieberman was elected to the Knesset in 1999, and served as Chairman of the "Israel-Moldova Parliamentary Friendship League". In March 2001 Lieberman was appointed Minister of National Infrastructure, but resigned the post in March 2002. He was re-elected in January 2003 as part of a joint National Union-Yisrael Beiteinu list, and in February was appointed Minister of Transportation. However, he was sacked from the cabinet by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in May 2004 due to his opposition to the disengagement plan.

Lieberman is married, with three children, and resides in Nokdim in the West Bank.

Lieberman Plan

In late May 2004, Lieberman proposed a plan in which the populations and territories of Israeli Jews and Arabs, including some Israeli Arabs, would be "separated". According to the plan, Israeli Arab town adjacent to Palestinian Authority areas would be transferred to Palestinian Authority, and only those Arabs who felt a connection with the State of Israel and were loyal to it would be allowed to remain. On May 30 Prime Minister Ariel Sharon condemned Lieberman's statements, stating "We regard Israeli Arabs as part of the State of Israel." [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=433141 Lieberman presents to Russia plan to expel 'disloyal' Arabs] Ha'aretz, May 30, 2004.] On 4 June 2004, as the disputes over the up-coming disengagement plan grew more intense, Sharon dismissed Lieberman from the cabinet. [ [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=435378 PM sacks National Union ministers] , Ha'aretz, June 5, 2004.] [ [http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2004/jun/05/israel Sharon sacks hardliners who stand in his way] The Guardian, June 5, 2004.]

Many Israelis see Lieberman's plan as a form of forced population transfer similar to proposals by the far-right Israeli political parties such as Moledet, Herut or Hayil.Fact|date=March 2008 Though Lieberman's plan would not uproot Arab residents from their homes, it would forcibly revoke their Israeli citizenship and transfer their sovereignty to the Palestinian Authority. The plan has drawn sharp criticism from both Left and Right of Israeli politics; by the former for its discriminatory overtones, and by the latter for the idea of ceding parts of the Land of Israel.Fact|date=March 2008

According to Lieberman, "The peace process is based on three false basic assumptions; that Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the main cause of instability in the Middle East, that the conflict is territorial and not ideological, and that the establishment of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders will end the conflict." [ [http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3338320,00.html Lieberman: The unfaithful cannot be citizens] Ynetnews, December 10, 2006.]

Popularity and constituency

In a poll published by Yedioth Ahronoth on September 21, 2006, Lieberman had more support than any politician except for Netanyahu to be the next Prime Minister of Israel (Olmert came in fifth, with 7%). [http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3306587,00.html Poll: Only 7 percent want Olmert as PM] Ynetnews, September 21, 2006.] Some Druze support Lieberman, and one third of the Israeli Druze living in Golan Heights voted for him. [http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3315769,00.html Nobody's citizens] Ynetnews, October 16, 2006.] The majority of his constituency are secular Russian-speaking Israelis as well as former Likud supporters, who feel that party has drifted from its founding Jabotinskian principles.cn|date=May 2008


Population exchange and loyalty tests

Lieberman advocates giving the Palestinian Authority Arab-Israeli towns near the West Bank and having Arabs who remain Israeli citizens take loyalty tests. Those who refuse would be stripped of their citizenship, but could remain in Israel as permanent residents.Myre, Greg. (2006, December 7.) [http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/07/world/middleeast/07mideast.html?pagewanted=print Israeli Official Discusses Iran and His Controversial Agenda] . "New York Times".] [http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2006/11/05/africa/ME_GEN_Israel_Lieberman.php New Cabinet minister Lieberman calls on government to separate Jews and Arabs] . "Associated Press", 5 November 2006. Quote: Under Lieberman's proposal, Arabs permitted to remain in Israel would have to pass a loyalty test to keep their citizenship. Arabs make up roughly one-fifth of Israel's population.] [http://www.economist.com/world/displaystory.cfm?story_id=5654988 Israel's new politics: Shutting itself in, hoping for the best] (subscribers-only access), The Economist, March 23, 2006.]

Bombing commercial centers and drowning prisoners

Following nine Palestinian attacks on Israelis during a two day period in March 2002, [- [http://www.nyjtimes.com/Heritage/News/Mar402.htm 'Weekend of terror leaves 23 Israelis dead'] , March 4, 2002.
- On March 4, the first Qassam rocket attack of March 2002 was made into Israel, there were no casualties. (Source: IDF Spokesperson Statistics).Fact|date=April 2008
- [http://news.walla.co.il/?w=/22/191379] Palestinian gunmen took up a position on a pedestrian bridge above Petah Tikva Road at the center of Tel Aviv and attacked two restaurants below, "The Steak Gathering" and "Sea Food Market" killing 3 Israelis and injuring 31 (four severely).
- [http://news.walla.co.il/?w=//191728] suicide bomber detonated in an Egged No. 823 bus.
- [http://www.nfc.co.il/Archive/001-D-6138-00.html?tag=23] [http://www.gamla.org.il/english/memorial/e310.htm] Bethlehem bypass "tunnel" attack.
- [http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=3&x_outlet=1&x_article=823] [http://www.nrg.co.il/online/archive/ART/258/091.html] [http://sderotmedia.com/?p=54] Qassam rocket attack on Sderot injured a 16 month-old baby.
] the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth quoted Lieberman's proposal for an ultimatum to the Palestinians to halt all terror activity or face wide-ranging attacks on commercial centers: "if it were up to me I would notify the Palestinian Authority that tomorrow at ten in the morning we would bomb all their places of business in Ramallah, for example." [ [http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-1727248,00.html]
- Following terrorist acts in recent days right wing politicians suggest to open war, bomb civilian targets in the Palestinian Authority and conquer the West Bank.
_he. - בעקבות הפיגועים בימים האחרונים מציעים פוליטיקאים מהימין לפתוח במלחמה, להפציץ מטרות אזרחיות ברשות ולכבוש את הגדה.
- Minister of Infrastructure Avigdor Lieberman said: "If it were up to me I would notify the Palestinian Authority that tomorrow at ten in the morning we would bomb all their places of business in Ramallah, for example."
_he. - שר התשתיות אביגדור ליברמן אמר: "אם היה הדבר תלוי בי הייתי מודיע לרשות שמחר בעשר בבוקר אנו נפציץ את כל בתי העסק שלהם ברמאללה, למשל".
] This led Foreign Minister Shimon Peres to respond that excessive military measures could lead to accusations of war crimes. [Paul Peachey: [http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/article191213.ece We risk charges of war crimes, Peres tells Cabinet] The Independent, March 7, 2002.]

In July 2003, reacting to a commitment made by Ariel Sharon to the US, where amnesty could be given to approximately 350 Palestinian prisoners including members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, Lieberman rejected a chance to participate in the related committee and said "It would be better to drown these prisoners in the Dead Sea if possible, since that's the lowest point in the world,"McGreal, Chris. [http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/jul/25/israel Palestinian PM's leadership at stake when he pleads with Bush to help free detainees.] "The Guardian", 25 July 2003.] Abu Toameh, Khaled. (2003, 21 July.) [http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P1-75596261.html PA prepares own dossier on 'incitement'.] ] Chazan, Guy. [http://online.wsj.com/article/SB105952212075781800.html?mod=googlewsj Hawkish Palestinian TV Starts to Incubate Doves.] Wall Street Journal] Liebreman continued, according to Galei Tzahal ('Israel Army Radio'), stating his willingness, as Minister of Transport, to supply buses to take the prisoners there. [ [http://news.walla.co.il/?w=//409686 'Lieberman offered to drown the Palestinian prisoners at sea'] by Walla!, July 6, 2003
- On Galei Tzahal it was reported that Lieberman said at the cabinet meeting that as Minister of Transport he's willing to provide buses to take them at sea and drown them there.
_he. בגלי צה"ל דווח שליברמן אמר בישיבת הממשלה שכשר התחבורה הוא מוכן לספק אוטובוסים לאסירים שיקחו אותם לים ולהטביע אותם שם.
] Lieberman's suggestion also led to confrontation between Lieberman and Arab-Israeli MKs Ahmed Tibi (Hadash-Ta'al), Jamal Zahalka (Balad), Taleb el-Sana, Abdelmalek Dahamsha (United Arab List) as well as opposition leader Shimon Peres. [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=315541 Lieberman blasted for suggesting drowning Palestinian prisoners] Ha'aretz, July 8, 2006.]

Israeli Arab MKs as collaborators

In November 2006, Lieberman called for the execution of any Arab Knesset members who meet with representatives of the Palestinian government, saying, "World War II ended with the Nuremberg trials. The heads of the Nazi regime, along with their collaborators, were executed. I hope this will be the fate of the collaborators in [the Knesset] ." [ [http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull&cid=1145961280390 Lieberman calls Arab MKs who meet with Hamas 'collaborators'] Jerusalem Post, May 4, 2006.] In response, Ahmad Tibi demanded that "a criminal investigation be initiated against Lieberman for violating the law against incitement and racism". [http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3323027,00.html Prosecution: Lieberman's anti-Arab remarks kosher] Ynetnews, November 2, 2006.] Lieberman was cleared of racism charges by the Israeli Deputy State prosecutor, while admitting that the office objected to the content of his statement. Tibi strongly objected to Lieberman's ministerial appointment, describing him as "a racist and a fascist". Labour minister Ophir Pines-Paz, who resigned over Lieberman's appointment, echoed Tibi's remarks, saying that Lieberman was tainted "by racist declarations and declarations that harm the democratic character of Israel". [http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/article1943313.ece Labour minister quits over Lieberman's role] The Independent, October 31, 2006.]

In remarks in the Knesset in March 2008, shortly after the 6 March attack at Jerusalem's Mercaz HaRav yeshiva, Lieberman stated that "yesterday's attack can not be disconnected from the Arab MKs incitement, which we hear daily in the Knesset." [Haaretz Service:Lieberman: Jerusalem attack is product of Arab MK incitement [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/961964.html] ] and, directed at Arab MKs, that "a new administration will be established and then we will take care of you." [Shahar Ilan:Lieberman to Arab MKs: One day we will 'take care of you' [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/962767.html] ]

Jericho Casino corruption investigation

In January 2008 Yisrael Beiteinu left the government and Lieberman left his position as Minister of Strategic Affairs, and almost immediately afterwards, "Arutz Sheva" reported that an investigation against Lieberman and his daughter that had been "ongoing for years, suddenly became active again once he left the government last week." [Ezra HaLevi. [,+but+suddenly+became+active+again+once+he+left+the+government+last+week.%22+site:israelnationalnews.com&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1 Exposé Links Olmert, Lieberman and Sharon to Jericho Casino] Arutz Sheva 01/24/08] An investigative exposé in Haaretz "targeting Lieberman...unearthed connections between the financier of the corruption-laden Oasis Casino in Jericho and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his predecessor Ariel Sharon." [Ezra HaLevi. [,+but+suddenly+became+active+again+once+he+left+the+government+last+week.%22+site:israelnationalnews.com&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1 Exposé Links Olmert, Lieberman and Sharon to Jericho Casino] Arutz Sheva 01/24/08] Police concluded decisively that Sharon had received a $3 million bribe, and Lieberman is still under investigation for receiving a bribe from Austrian-Jewish businessman Martin Schlaff. [Hillel Fendel. [http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/95989 "Police Say There´s Evidence Linking Sharon to $3 Million Bribe"] Arutz Sheva, 01/03/06]

Coalition agreement

Yisrael Beiteinu agreed to join Ehud Olmert's government on 23 October 2006, with Lieberman offered the post of Minister of Strategic Affairs. Although many in the Labour Party expressed opposition to Yisrael Beiteinu joining the coalition, the party's central committee approved the new coalition and on 30 October, the Knesset voted the party be included in the government by a margin of 61 to 38. In response, Ophir Pines-Paz, who led the opposition camp in the Labour party, announced his resignation, stating that "Lieberman is himself a strategic threat." [http://www.upi.com/InternationalIntelligence/view.php?StoryID=20061030-042311-5107r Olmert gets hardline partner] United Press International, October 30, 2006.]

However, the party left the coalition on 16 January 2008 in protest at peace talks with the Palestinian National Authority. [ [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/945299.html Lieberman blasts Arab MKs, pulls party out of government] Ha'aretz, January 16, 2008.]


External links

* [http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/index.php?menuID=2&subID=1061 The appointment of Israel’s new deputy PM raises fears of a new catastrophe, says Robert Fox]
*Gilad Katz: [http://omedia.org/Show_Article.asp?DynamicContentID=1875&MenuID=608&ThreadID=1014011 Avigdor Liberman – Politician or Statesman?] ("Omedia", 22 October 2006)
*Akiva Eldar: [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/780996.html Let's hear it for the Haiders] Ha'aretz, October 31, 2006.
* [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=783926 PM: Lieberman opinion on trading Arabs not my own] Ha'aretz, November 5, 2006.
* [http://www.beytenu.org Official website of Yisrael Beiteinu]

NAME = Lieberman, Avigdor Levi
ALTERNATIVE NAMES = אביגדור ליברמן
SHORT DESCRIPTION = Israeli politician
DATE OF BIRTH = 5 June 1958
PLACE OF BIRTH = Kishinev, Moldavian SSR, Soviet Union

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