Avigdor Lieberman takes his seat in the Knesset on the afternoon of May 30 in his new role as defence minister. (photo from Ashernet)
For some time now Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been trying to enlarge his right-wing coalition government. Apart from holding several important portfolios, including foreign affairs and economy, it was becoming increasingly difficult for the government to carry out its policies with a majority of only one seat in the 120-seat Knesset. As well, within the coalition there was pressure over issues that were of special interest to particular factions.
A Knesset vote of 55-43 approved Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beitenu (Israel Our Home) party to join the coalition and gives Netanyahu 66 seats. Lieberman was appointed minister of defence. In the Israel Defence Forces, he attained the rank of corporal.
Lieberman’s predecessor was Moshe Ya’alon, a former IDF chief of staff, who had warned of the rising tide of extremism in the Likud and resigned from the party and the Knesset on May 20.