Avigdor Lieberman's political career may be over
Police detained over 30 high-ranking government officials on Wednesday for questioning on corruption charges, including Yisrael Beytenu's Deputy Interior Minister Faina Kirschenbaum.As noted before, he's been chummy with corrupt businessman Martin Schlaff, and if he's been doing anything illegal, it should be frowned upon as much as Ehud Olmert's own felonies. A Jerusalem Post writer tells why this time, Lieberman may not have much success:
Police say they allegedly used tens of millions of shekels worth of public money from charities and gave it to those close to them politically.
Those brought in for questioning also include a cadre of regional heads, a Knesset director general, former ministers, heads of public corporations, union leaders and political activists.
Lahav 433, the elite anti-fraud police unit, has been investigating the case undercover for the past year and went public with the investigations on Wednesday, when the detentions were made.
The theory behind criminal investigations boosting Yisrael Beytenu in the polls is that they awaken a sense of other-ness and victimhood in its traditional voter base, immigrants from the Former Soviet Union, like half of the party's current MKs.These "centrist" parties have been nothing but trouble for Israel, and it's time to start avoiding them. If Lieberman's willing to support 2-state propaganda, then how does he expect Israel's Muslim citizens to truly remain loyal to Israel? Indeed, his logic is very weak. Besides, most Arabs here actually prefer to live under Israeli sovereignty.
The probes also attract right-wing voters that feel like the Left runs the country, the media, the police, etc. Even though the Right has been in power for years, the most popular newspaper in the country is pro-Netanyahu and a Yisrael Beytenu minister is in charge of police.
Of course, politicians on the Right and Left, religious and secular, Ashkenazi and Sephardic, immigrant and sabra have been investigated for corruption in the years since 1999, but perception is often stronger than facts.
Now that Liberman has distanced himself from both of the groups that identified with the party's victimhood, he might not benefit from that perception anymore.
This is not the first election in which Yisrael Beytenu sought to present itself as not just a party for Russian-speakers, but it is certainly continuing in that vein, and in any case, many sociologists and pollsters say immigrants from the FSU no longer vote in a bloc.
Plus, Liberman presented himself as a centrist in recent weeks, highlighting his support for a two-state solution and saying that isolated settlements will have to be evacuated, even though he lives in one, Nokdim. In addition, the party refuses to confirm or deny reports that the right-wing members of his faction - Tourism Minister Uzi Landau, Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir and MK David Rotem - will not be on the list for the next Knesset. However, he has not backed down from demanding that Israeli-Arabs declare loyalty to the state.
The proudly right-wing parties – Likud and Bayit Yehudi – jumped on all of Liberman's ostensibly leftist statements, and Yisrael Beytenu has been bleeding voters from the Right in the polls without picking any up from the other parties calling themselves centrist – Yesh Atid and Koolanu.
So Liberman's loss of voters is richly deserved for all the slapdash and dangerous ideas he's willing to uphold. It's time to move away from him and support the right-wing parties that are more loyal to Israel than he'll ever be.