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