He's Netanyahu's main coalition
partner. He represents the lunatic fringe of Israeli governance. He's
a serial felon. He's ideologically anti-democratic and hardcore racist.
Weeks ahead of general elections, he resigned. In January, he plans running
for reelection anyway. At least so far. Information discussed below may
He stands criminally indicted. He deserves prison, not high office. A
decade earlier plea bargain avoided harsh punishment. He assaulted a young
boy. He copped a plea, paid a small fine, and got off virtually scot-free.
Clear evidence shows he's guilty of bribery, embezzlement, money laundering,
obstruction of justice, and breach of trust.
In mid-December, Israeli Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein dropped major
charges. Fraud and breach of trust remained. At the same time, Weinstein
said "suspicions" about Lieberman remain. Further action can't be ruled
On December 27, Haaretz headlined "Israel's AG intensifies indictment
against Lieberman over ambassador affair."
It relates to Israel's former Belarus ambassador, Ze'ev Ben Aryeh. Documents
show Lieberman secured his appointment in return for services rendered.
He promoted his ambassadorship to Latvia. Bribery was involved.
Initial Lieberman charges included allegations about not disclosing what
happened. On Sunday, a follow-up indictment will be submitted in Jerusalem's
Fraud and breach of trust will be included. So will moral turpitude. It's
very close to charging bribery. Key language says "a form of recompense
for someone who had committed grave acts on his behalf."
Ben Aryeh admitted telling Israel's Justice Ministry and Lieberman about
asking Belarus authorities to help with his police investigation.
At the time, Lieberman was a MK. After his foreign ministerial appointment,
he repaid Ben Aryeh for services rendered.
Deputy Foreign Minister, Danny Ayalon, gave testimony. He's a key prosecution
witness. He did so after Lieberman spurned him. He excluded him from Yisrael
Beiteinu's upcoming Knesset list.
A deputy scorned retaliated. Ayalon heads the Foreign Ministry's appointment
process. He knows where the bodies are buried. He provided evidence against
Amended charges say he named Ze'ev Ben Aryeh ministry diplomatic advisor.
He urged his appointment as Latvian ambassador.
Prior to appointment committee deliberations, Lieberman told Ayalon he
was "the most fitting candidate and should thus be granted the position."
Ayalon knew little about him. He followed through on Lieberman's behalf.
Ben Aryeh was one of 10 candidates considered.
Lieberman withheld vital information about him. He said nothing about
about their personal relationship. Ben Aryeh lost out after background
check facts revealed what Lieberman concealed.
Haaretz said "recent testimonies strengthen the evidence (that) Lieberman
actively promoted Ben Aryeh's appointment" process.
Doing so "is likely to influence the court's position" on how severely
to stiffen charges against him. He won't get what he deserves.
At the same time, he'll face more than he bargained for. It remains to
be seen how things play out. It also places his future more in doubt.
On December 27, Haaretz discussed it. It called his "temporary departure"
a "potential turning point."
What originally seemed "a minor legal road bump," could end up being "permanent
exile." Other party faithful wait to replace him.
Before resigning, Lieberman served 44 months as foreign minister and deputy
prime minister. His political future is now on hold. Perhaps he has none.
It's increasingly clear, said Haaretz, that he "won't return to a ministerial
seat anytime soon." Attorney General Weinstein faced harsh criticism for
dropping key charges. Clear evidence proved guilt.
Major charges are still dropped. Moral turpitude will accompany others
fraud and breach of trust. Doing so bans him from politics for seven years.
Continuing investigation may add more.
Things aren't yet resolved. Haaretz sums up Lieberman's senior diplomatic
tenure as follows:
"He was effectively banned from many Western capitals." He "focused his
attention between Prague and (former Bessarabia capital/now Moldova capital)
According to Lieberman, doing so "helped garner support from nations (that)
stood by Israel, or at least didn't" support recognizing Palestine's UN
Western refusal to recognize him as a legitimate partner "left him sidelined
from central arenas."
He and Netanyahu share blame. Prime ministerial support lets him off the
hook. Lieberman's not as fortunate. He greatly harmed Israel's international
standing by "stubbornly oppos(ing) any Israeli apology" for murdering
nine Mavi Mamara Turkish nationals.
That and more made him damaged goods. Perhaps his time came and left.
Israel's Maariv daily said Netanyahu may assume foreign ministerial duties
He did so after Lieberman resigned. Perhaps he'll maintain portfolio responsibilities
until his status is resolved. It could take weeks or months.
Other party faithful want their say. Expect foreign ministerial authority
scrambling post-elections. Perhaps Lieberman will be dumped in the process.
It bears repeating. He deserves prison, not high office. The same goes
for Netanyahu and likeminded Israeli hardliners. They're lawless rogues.
They shame legitimate government. Israeli voters aren't likely to replace
them. Regional peace hangs in the balance.