Tag Archives: Olmert

Avigdor Lieberman: Israel’s Le Pen

By Jeremy Gillick

Two years ago, Ha’aretz correspondent Lily Galili profiled the right wing Israeli politician and founder of the Yisrael Beiteinu (“Israel is our Home”) Party, Avigdor Lieberman, for Moment.

Having served as Transportation Minister under Ariel Sharon, and having subsequently been fired in 2004 for opposing the withdrawal from Gaza, Lieberman “re-emerged,” Galili wrote in early 2007, “as a strange hybrid of an Israeli version of Jean-Marie Le Pen (the infamous French extreme right-winger) and respectable statesman.” Indeed, it was recently revealed that Lieberman was at one point a member of Rabbi Meir Kahane’s Kach Party, which was banned from Israeli elections in the late 1980s for inciting racism against Arabs.

Now, with Israeli elections just days away, Lieberman and his nationalist party are poised to make huge gains. Polls indicate that Yisrael Beitenu could win as many as 16 seats in Israel’s 120-member Knesset–potentially even more than Israel’s founding left-leaning Labor Party. And Benjamin Netanyahu, whose right-wing Likud Party is expected to beat out Kadima, the centrist one, has promised to give Lieberman a prominent post if he succeeds in forming a coalition. Continue reading

Livni Wins Kadima Primaries

Tzipi Livni has won the Kadima party primaries (Moment columnist Gershom Gorenberg explains how they work, or don’t work, here) with nearly 50% of the vote, according to Israeli exit polls.

Livni, 50, will replace beleaguered Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as the party Chairwoman. Her next task will be to assemble a coalition. If she succeeds, she will become Israel’s first female Prime Minister since Golda Meir was elected in 1969.

Runner up Shaul Mofaz, a 55 year-old Iranian born military-man reputed to be a curmudgeon had been “hoping for a low turnout rate,” according to Ynet. Exit polls predicted he would take about 37% of the vote.

More on Livni soon.

–Jeremy Gillick

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