Lieberman is back

Lieberman is back

The leader of the party Israel is Our Home (Yisrael Beiteinu) Avigdor Lieberman has agreed with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on terms for joining the coalition government as its new defense minister. 

The talks, which lasted for over a week, were stalled due to disagreements over the pension reform lobbied by Lieberman in favor of his traditional voters - elderly immigrants from former Soviet Union republics. A compromise was found last night.

"A coalition agreement was reached between the Likud and Israel Our Home parties last night. The talks between Netanyahu, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and Lieberman were held in the Prime Minister's office," Kol Israel reports.

"After a week of negotiations, when it seemed that they were at an impasse, the Israeli government accepted 'Israel is Our Home' party's terms on pension reform for the repatriates," the Director General of the International Association Israel-Azerbaijan 'AzIz', Lev Spivak, said, adding that after the agreement is signed, it will be submitted for the parliamentary approval.

The agreement is expected to be signed today and then will be submitted for the parliamentary approval. Avigdor Lieberman is expected to be appointed the defense minister early next week, while his party ally Sofa Landwehr will be sworn in as the Minister of immigration and adaptation of immigrants.

The coalition will consist of 67 (6 from ‘Israel our Home’) out of 120 MPs and include all right-wing and religious parties represented in the Knesset.

The head of the department of Israel and Jewish Communities Studies of the Institute of Oriental Studies, Tatyana Karasova, said, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, that to a certain extent, Netanyahu had to make an alliance with Lieberman because of disagreements with the former Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon. At the same time, Lieberman's return marks a major review for Israel's foreign policy, especially its relations with Russia and the United States.

"It is known that Lieberman is a political pariah in the administration of the Israeli president, but on the other hand, he managed to establish very good relations with Russia, and Lieberman is a politician who has always defended the line of rapprochement with Russia. So now, before the elections, when Netanyahu needs to seriously reconsider all the possibilities of the future relations between Israel and the United States, and his choice is quite understandable though does puzzle many experts on the Middle East," Tatiana Karasova believes.

"The political significance of Lieberman's return lies in strengthening of the coalition with the Israel is Our Home party.”This means further tightening of the Israeli government policy toward the Arab-Israeli conflict. A reassessment of the country's position on the latest developments in the Middle East is also possible, but it will take time to see how it will be put into effect," she said.

A Political scientist Zeaev Khanin, in turn, does not expect radical changes. "Despite a disagreement between Lieberman and Netanyahu on the settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, it is not a problem, because the current government does not understand with whom they should talk on the other side. The second thing is that the presence of the Hamas government in Gaza for Netanyahu is a lesser evil than the alternative, which may occur if the regime in Gaza disbands. Lieberman is in favor of the disbanding. However, all this is only a perspective, and not a plan for immediate action," he warned.

The expert agreed with Tatiana Karasova that Israel will strengthen the pro-Russian line in its foreign policy under Lieberman in the Defense Ministry. "Lieberman is a consistent supporter of strengthening of the Russian-Israeli relations in all spheres. And in this sense there are no differences between him and the Prime Minister," Zeaev Khanin said.