Environment Minister Gabay Quits Over Liberman Appointment

Israeli minister of Environmental Protection Avi Gabay, speaks to press ahead of the weekly cabinet meeting at PM Netanyahu's office in Jerusalem on August 16, 2015. Photo by Marc Israel Sellem/POOL *** Local Caption *** éùéáú îîùìä àáé âáàé äùø ìäâðú äñáéáä
Environment Minister Avi Gabay. (Marc Israel Sellem/POOL)

Environment Minister Avi Gabay (Kulanu) announced Friday that he was resigning his post in the wake of the appointment of Avigdor Liberman as Defense Minister. In a statement, Gabay said that “despite the importance of this office and its work to me personally, in which we have made great strides in reducing pollution, the recent political machinations including the switching of the Defense Minister are of serious concern to me.

“I see these developments as being a symptom of the growth of extremism in the government,” Gabay said in the statement. “This is a political course I cannot be a part of. As a result, I do not see myself continuing as a member of the government.”

As a member of Kulanu, Gabay, who is not an MK, is bidden to support the government on most matters. He did not indicate in his statement if he will continue to do so.

At a Cabinet meeting earlier this week where the final version of the framework for the production of gas from the Leviathan field was approved, Gabay was the only minister to vote against. Gabay, calling the deal “a big mistake,” said that it would allow gas producers to gouge Israelis for profits that they could not get abroad because of the low cost of natural gas in world markets.

Speaking on Israel Radio, Zionist Camp MK Erel Margalit said that Gabay “smelled that something was ‘off’ with this government and he did the moral thing by resigning. Meanwhile, Moshe Kachlon, head of his party, continues to ensure the government’s survival and act as an enabler for the ‘hilltop youth,’ hoping we will not notice. I would recommend that our finance minister resign as well. You will not escape the responsibility for this government.”