Yisrael Beytenu: Who's In, Who's Out?
After MK Anastassia Michaeli, Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov and Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon were ousted from Yisrael Beytenu’s list for the next Knesset, party chairman Avigdor Lieberman announced the make-up of the list on Tuesday evening.
As speculated, Lieberman placed Yair Shamir, son of former Prime Minister Yitzchak Shamir, as his number two. Shamir is followed by Energy and Water Minister Uzi Landau, Immigration Absorption Minister Sofa Landver and Internal Security Minister Yitzchak Aharonovitch.
The rest of the list is as follows:
6. MK Orly Levy-Abekasis
7. MK Faina Kirschenbaum
8. MK David Rotem
9. MK Robert Ilatov
10. MK Hamad Amar
11. Shimon Ohayon, a professor at Bar-Ilan University
12. MK Alex Miller
13. Former Labor MK Leon Litinetsky
14. Julia Malinovski
15. Energy Minister Landau's chief of staff, Smadar Bat-Adam
Another two of the party’s current MKs, Moshe (Mutz) Matalon and Lia Shemtov were not placed in realistic spots on the list.
The above list will be merged with the Likud’s Knesset list, in accordance with the agreement recently signed between Lieberman and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Under the unity agreement, Lieberman will be placed in the second spot on the joint list, and the members of his party will receive every third spot after that, meaning they will occupy spots 5, 8, 11, 14 and so on.
While MK Michaeli and Minister Misezhnikov, realizing Lieberman would not place them in realistic spots, announced ahead of time they would not be running, Ayalon being pushed off the list came as a surprise to many.
Channel 2 television speculated that Lieberman was punishing Ayalon for the "low chair" incident, in which he had to apologize after he arranged for the Turkish ambassador to sit on a low chair for a televised dressing-down.
Ayalon was one of the more active parliamentarians and one of his most important projects was the “I Am a Refugee” campaign, involving a series of videos aimed at bringing attention to the thousands of Jewish refugees who were expelled from Arab countries following the establishment of the State of Israel.
Michaeli, who announced Monday night she would not be running for “personal reasons”, raised Lieberman’s ire after two separate incidents in which she threw water at Arab MK Raleb Majadle (Labor) and spoke of homosexuality as a problem that often leads to suicide.
Misezhnikov announced Tuesday that he would be leaving politics. It is believed Lieberman decided to oust him after press reports depicted Misezhnikov as being excessively fond of alcohol and living a playboy lifestyle that interferes with his ability to do his job. He denied the charges but admitted to occasionally drinking.