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Friday, May 20, 2016

Israel’s New Defense Minister Is Cause for Concern

Israel’s New Defense Minister Is Cause for Concern

by Mitchell Plitnick
Earlier today, it was reported that Avigdor Lieberman, the head of Israel’s right wing Yisrael Beiteinu party, has agreed to join the government of Benjamin Netanyahu in the post of Defense Minister. This is a concerning development for a number of reasons.
The agreement between Lieberman and Netanyahu comes in the wake of Netanyahu’s negotiations to bring the Zionist Union into the government, during which Netanyahu made a point of refusing to offer the Defense portfolio to ZU Chairman Isaac Herzog. While it might seem that Netanyahu turned to Lieberman only because he was unable to come to satisfactory terms with Herzog, Labor Party MK Stav Shaffir is likely correct in observing that “It is now clear that Bibi used (Herzog) in order to bring Lieberman into the government.” That is, Herzog was used as bait.
But the real context for the decision to move Lieberman into the Defense Ministry is the need to replace Likud Minister Moshe Ya’alon. Ya’alon and Netanyahu have been at loggerheads in recent weeks. The disagreements have centered on two specific events.

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