As coalition talks began to wind down in the days before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must present a coalition, Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Lieberman announced Monday that he was stepping down from his post as foreign minister and his party would not be joining the coalition.Whatever demands Lieberman's got are hogwash, and he's never proven himself a very convincing politician so much as he has proven a corrupt one. Dror Eydar says:
Lieberman's move raised the prospect that Netanyahu, whose Likud party won the biggest bloc of votes in a March 17 election, will have to settle for a narrower coalition to secure a majority in the 120-seat parliament by the Wednesday deadline to form a government.
[...] Lieberman's once-powerful party plummeted in the March election to just six seats. Without Yisrael Beytenu, Netanyahu is expected to form a narrow, 61-seat coalition, leaving him susceptible to the demands of his coalition partners.
[...] Likud members were outraged by Lieberman's announcement, with one high-ranking Likud member saying, "Lieberman is the last person who can preach about opportunism. He is a cynic. The biggest opportunist of them all. He planned a putsch against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the last term, and aspired to be appointed prime minister as a compromise after the election.
"The unequivocal results of the last election, in which Likud won 30 Knesset seats, foiled Lieberman's plots and his plan failed. That is why he is now trying to drag the political arena down into a left-wing government headed by Isaac Herzog, while simultaneously serving outside interests both domestically and abroad in utter violation of the promise he made to his voters -- to support the establishment of a nationalist government.
"Lieberman has betrayed his voters. His criticism regarding the [concessions made by Netanyahu to] the ultra-Orthodox parties are completely baseless. Herzog agreed to give them the same things and even [Yesh Atid leader Yair] Lapid said that he would be willing to join a coalition with the ultra-Orthodox parties. The only way to reduce the parties' leverage in making coalition demands is to change the system of government, and that is something that the prime minister has announced that he plans to do."
In the last election, six seats were stolen from the Right by Lieberman, who received countless gifts and honors from the national camp, but never gave it anything in return. Over the past six years, Lieberman, mythologized as a "bulldozer," did nothing noteworthy in the realms of housing, transportation, education, industry and infrastructure, but he did stand out for his willingness to undermine conservative governments in which he held senior positions. Who will vote for him next time after his contradiction of his constituents' wishes? And what will Lieberman, who got used to doing nothing at the Foreign Ministry, do in the opposition?He'll probably collaborate and conspire to topple the government. He's never made any clear ideological statements, and it's time for him to resign from politics; he's become irrelevant.
If the government collapses because of him, he'll be remembered in history as a pure disgrace, especially if his acts lead to a left-wing government coming into power and causing disaster. Let's hope those who voted for him will learn their lesson now.