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September 4, 2015 / 20 Elul, 5775
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BAD NEWS FOR LAPID

Deal to Keep Foreign Minister Post for Lieberman Upheld as Legal

The attorney general returns to Netanyahu a piece of the coalition puzzle and approves a deal reserving the Foreign Ministry post for Lieberman. Lapid will have to settle for something else, at least for now.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the Likud (R) and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman of Yisrael Beitenu announced their two parties' joining forces ahead of the upcoming Israeli general elections.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the Likud (R) and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman of Yisrael Beitenu
Photo Credit: Miriam Alster/FLASH90

Attorney General Yehudah Weinstein has upheld a deal whereby Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu agreed to keep the Foreign Ministry post open for Avigdor Lieberman if he is found not guilty of charges of breach of trust.

Weinstein said the agreement is kosher, only 24 hours after he ordered his assistant to investigate charges by the Ometz government watchdog organization that the deal is illegal. Ometz claimed that the Netanyahu-Lieberman agreement was in fact a coalition deal that needs approval by the Knesset.

Lieberman resigned as his Foreign Minister  last December after being indicted on a charge of promoting a former ambassador to Belarus who informed his boss of information concerning a criminal investigation against him.

Ometz argued that besides illegal, the agreement would place Foreign Ministry workers in an awkward position if they have to testify against Lieberman while knowing he may be their boss if he is acquitted. The assistant attorney general answered that government works often have to testify against superiors.

Weinstein’s decision knocks off the table the demand by Future (Yesh Atid) party chairman Yair Lapid to become Foreign Minister. If Lieberman is found guilty, the position will be up for grabs, but that presumably will not happen until after a collation government is finally agreed upon.

Netanyahu has been trying to persuade Lapid to accept the Finance Ministry portfolio, which has proven to be a can of worms for every Finance Minister since Netanyahu himself held the post in the Sharon government and helped turn the economy around.

About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.


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