Liberman 'Plays Dumb' over Corruption Case

Liberman claims he only knows 'what I heard from the news'; again says he is open to joining with Labor.

Orli Harari, Ari Yashar ,

Avigdor Liberman
Avigdor Liberman
Hadas Parush/Flash 90

Foreign Minister and Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman on Wednesday "played dumb" about the corruption investigation being advanced by police against two ministers of his party, part of a massive effort that has seen 30 senior figures brought in.

Speaking at a Calcalist forum, Liberman said "I'm not familiar with the case beyond what I heard in the news and I have nothing to add."

Addressing the audience sarcastically, he continued "if there are those who are disappointed they should leave the hall now, because on this topic I have nothing to enlighten or oppose the opinions of others."

On Wednesday a gag order was released on the investigation, revealing that the prime suspects are Deputy Interior Minister Faina Kirshenbaum and former Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov, both of the Yisrael Beytenu party.

Yisrael Beytenu claimed the arrests were politically motivated, claims which Police Chief Yohanan Danino promptly rejected.

Speaking about the elections and the possibility of forming a joint coalition, Liberman said Wednesday "I don't rule out anyone, not Buji (Yitzhak Herzog), not Bibi (Binyamin Netanyahu), and not (Aryeh) Deri. I don't rule out any party and don't rule out any person. The discussion we need to hold is not about people but about issues."

"I hope that both Buji and Bibi will join a government that Yisrael Beytenu forms, I recommend that both join," he said jokingly, calling for a wide coalition.

Liberman's plan, criticized by many as being a blatant shift to the left, urges dividing Israel and conceding large swathes of currently sovereign territory including the "Triangle" region of the Galilee so as to "unify" the people, in a plan that would involve coordination with Egypt and Jordan.

On Tuesday, he called for the expulsion of Jewish communities to placate the European Union (EU) as part of a regional peace treaty.

Former MK Dr. Michael Ben-Ari, chairperson of the Otzma Yehudit party, responded to the corruption case and statements. "It turns out that with Liberman, like (Ariel) Sharon, the deeper the investigation the deeper the expulsion," he said, referring to claims that Sharon conducted the 2005 Disengagement to cover up corruption scandals surrounding his sons.

"Liberman is be saved from another corruption scandal surrounding him, and as with Sharon, pioneering Jews and the state of Israel will pay the price," added Ben-Ari. "Whoever votes for Liberman needs to know they're voting for the radical left."