Liberman Made Quitting MKs an 'Unrefusable Offer'

Former deputy minister Ayalon reveals Liberman's 'method' of forcing MKs and ministers to step down, explaining string of resignations.

Hezki Baruch, Ari Yashar,

Danny Ayalon, Avigdor Liberman
Danny Ayalon, Avigdor Liberman
Yossi Zamir/POOL/Flash 90

Former deputy minister with Yisrael Beytenu, Danny Ayalon, claimed on Monday to reveal the secret behind the recent slew of resignations from Avigdor Liberman's party, saying Liberman had forced the party members to step down.

Speaking in an interview with Kol Israel radio, Ayalon said the MKs were given an "offer they couldn't refuse" by Liberman. Those MKs include Minister of Public Security Yitzchak Aharonovich, Tourism Minister Uzi Landau and MK David Rotem, who were joined on Monday by Deputy Interior Minister Faina Kirshenbaum, a central suspect embroiled in a massive corruption scandal surrounding the party.

"Twenty-four hours before they announce the Knesset list, in some kind of committee that is fictitious, then he (Liberman) contacts you by phone and says 'you have no place on the list,' and then he offers you a letter of resignation," said Ayalon.

"It's a very characteristic method in which they give you an offer that you can't refuse," he added. "Now I refused it because I said, that doesn't represent reality, I haven't exhausted (my role) and I didn't think to quit."

When asked why the recently resigned members agreed to the offer, Ayalon said "there may be some fear there, and something else that I forgot, he also offers you incentives. He (Liberman) says 'listen, you have no place' for his own reasons and offers you incentives; for example he offered me an incentive to serve as ambassador to the UN. So I guess that maybe here too, you know, people from the nature of things don't oppose."

Ayalon has been at loggerheads with Liberman since leaving the party, even serving as a witness against him in a trial that accused Liberman of improperly promoting an ambassador in return for information about an investigation against him.

In deciding to step down earlier Monday, Kirshenbaum said she would reserve her right to silence in the investigation against her, in which millions of shekels were found in bank accounts connected to her last Friday.

Regarding Ayalon's accusations, it is worth noting that Kirshenbaum reportedly considered resigning two weeks ago, and was asked by Liberman for her to stay. She eventually stepped down, however, after police discovered the funds in her accounts.