In a surprise move, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered one of the country’s most controversial politcians, Avigdor Lieberman, the post of defense minister.
To save his thin, one-party majority, Netanyahu made a coalition deal with Lieberman’s ultranationalist Yisrael Beytenu party while completely turning a blind eye towards the leader’s extremely racist history.
The decision appears all the more desperate on Bibi’s part, given the fact that it was only a month ago that he reportedly described Lieberman as a lazy amateur, “a petty prattler.”
As the former defense minister, Moshe Yaalon, resigned his position, he said he no longer had faith in the Israeli PM and also warned the government had been taken over by “extremist and dangerous elements.”
And he could be right.
Lieberman, after all, is not just some loud-mouthed politician. He is one of the most notorious political figures in Israel’s history.
He is so right-wing that he once refused to join the right-wing Israeli government, arguing it wasn’t right-wing enough.
Lieberman’s incendiary rhetoric against minorities makes people like Donald Trump and Netanyahu look good. Case in point: He once called for the beheading of Arabs who weren’t “loyal” to Israel, also suggesting Palestinian prisoners be drowned in the Dead Sea.
His inclusion in the government will only strengthen Israel’s illegal expansion program. Lieberman, himself, technically doesn’t live in Israel since he resides in an illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank.
In 2013, he suggested Israel carry out a “thorough cleansing” of the Gaza Strip.
At a time when the international community is increasingly growing wary of Israel’s aggressive expansionism and military policies, Lieberman’s appointment will probably create more problems than solutions to the existing ones.