Avigdor Liberman officially took on the job of Israel’s Defense Minister on Tuesday afternoon. At a ceremony at Defense Ministry Headquarters in Tel Aviv, Liberman met with staff of the Ministry and the IDF, and entered his new offices.
Liberman will meet later in the day with IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkott, and later with top defense officials, including Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan. In the coming days, Liberman is set to receive briefings from the heads of the various IDF divisions, as well as from the Civil Administration. As Defense Minister, Liberman is solely responsible for security, law enforcement, and legal procedure in Yehudah and Shomron.
MK Benny Begin, who absented himself from the Knesset vote approving Liberman Monday night, told Channel Two Monday that right-wing Israelis needn’t celebrate the new Defense Minister’s appointment too enthusiastically. “I was shocked at the joy with which people on the right greeted Moshe Yaalon’s ouster in favor of Liberman,” said Begin. “After all, Yaalon opposed establishment of a Palestinian state, while we heard Liberman say Sunday that he was in favor of a PLO state – just without Hamas, which he pledges to destroy.”
Liberman has stated this position before, said Begin. “This is nothing new, which is why I was quite surprised at the support Liberman has on the right and among residents of Yehudah and Shomron. It makes me wonder about the wisdom or intelligence of these people.
“It appears that there are three kinds of ‘right’ – moderate, radical, and stupid,” said Begin. “I am not saying that Liberman belongs to the third grouping – just his supporters.”