Netanyahu to Take over Post of Foreign Minister

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu also will be the Foreign Minister after Lieberman's resignation takes effect. His deputy will be Ayalon.

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu,

Lieberman and Netanyahu
Lieberman and Netanyahu
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu also will be the Foreign Minister after Avigdor Lieberman's resignation takes effect in two days, and Deputy Minister Danny Ayalon will be re-appointed.

Lieberman decided to resign after he was was indicted last week on one charge of breach of trust.

By law, a deputy minister also must leave his post when a minister resigns, but the Prime Minister will re-appoint Ayalon, according to government sources.

Netanyahu’s dual role likely will end after the January 22 elections, after which he will almost certainly appoint a new Foreign Minister. Lieberman conceivably, but not likely, could return to office if there is a quick trial and he is acquitted or if he reaches a plea-bargain deal that would allow him to serve as minister.

Ayalon has been dropped from the Israel Beytenu list and will not be in the next Knesset.                

Until then, Lieberman’s resignation comes at a fortunate time for the Prime Minister. Lieberman’s undiplomatic style of “telling it like it is” has on the one hand made it clear to other countries where Israel stands but on the other hands has rankled foreign leaders to the point that Israel faces a threat of European isolation.

The government reacted to the United Nations’ recognition of the Palestinian Authority as a non-member observer state by announcing that 3,000 more homes will be built for Jews in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.

Lieberman’s resignation also means he will be dropped from the important non-member “Inner Cabinet," which discusses and decides security matters.

Prime Minister Netanyahu is likely to win some votes from would-be Likud supporters who are wary of Lieberman’s hard-line nationalist policies. Lieberman’s Israel Beyteinu party, which has merged with the Likud, may lose votes to a newly-formed party of Russian immigrants, which has a fair chance of winning enough votes to enter the next Knesset.