Report: Liberman set to step down as Defense Minister

Sources close to Defense Minister say he is frustrated with government's response to Hamas attacks, has decided to resign.

Hezki Baruch,

Avigdor Liberman
Avigdor Liberman
Hadas Parush/Flash90

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman has decided to resign his position in the Netanyahu government, sources close to Liberman said Wednesday, ahead of a public statement by the Defense Minister planned for Wednesday afternoon.

Unnamed officials close to the minister said Liberman is frustrated with the government’s handling of the conflict with Hamas in Gaza, and is set on resigning from the Defense Ministry.

Earlier on Wednesday, Liberman called a special meeting of his Yisrael Beytenu party for 12:00 p.m. Following the meeting, Liberman is scheduled to make a public statement, widely believed to be an announcement regarding his resignation.

The news comes less than 24 hours after Israel and Hamas reportedly reached a ceasefire agreement, ending two days of intense fighting in Gaza and southern Israel.

Some 500 rockets and mortar shells were launched from the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave towards Israel since Sunday night, following an incident in the southern Gaza Strip between an elite IDF special forces unit and a cell of Hamas terrorists. One person was killed and nearly 60 more injured in the rocket attacks.

One IDF officer was killed in the incident, and a second officer wounded. Seven Hamas terrorists, including a senior officer in Hamas’ military wing, were also killed in the battle.

The Defense Minister’s office has not released any details regarding the content of Liberman’s upcoming statement, and refused to comment on rumors he intends to resign his position as Defense Minister.

On Tuesday, Liberman’s office denied claims by the Prime Minister’s Office that the Defense Minister had backed the ceasefire agreement. The PMO had claimed that the security cabinet unanimously approved the proposed ceasefire.

“The reports of Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s supposed support for the ceasefire in Gaza are ‘fake news’,” his office claimed.

“The Defense Minister’s position is unchanged and remains the same.”

Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) also challenged the PMO’s claims of a unanimous decision in favor of the ceasefire.


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