Liberman Takes “Oath of Silence”

YERUSHALAYIM -
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman at the Israel Beytenu faction meeting at the Knesset on Monday. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman at the Israel Beytenu faction meeting at the Knesset on Monday. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said on Monday that he has taken an “oath of silence” while he settles into his new job.

Liberman, who is known for his unfettered public style, told a Yisrael Beytenu meeting that he was refraining from media interviews, focusing instead on the formidable challenges of running the Defense Ministry.

“I’ve taken an ‘oath of silence’ until Rosh Hashanah. I do not intend to give any interviews; right now I need to focus on work inside the ministry and to learn the issues in depth,” he said.

However, Liberman took a brief time-out from the period of silence to try to make peace in the coalition, which has been threatened with breaking apart amid the war of words between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Education Minister Naftali Bennett.

Liberman called on Bennett to “relax.”

“It’s the obligation of all of us in the government to stabilize the new coalition. I’m going to take advantage of this opportunity to call upon all my friends, but first and foremost my good friend Naftali Bennett, to relax. We need to work together, in sync.”

At the meeting, Liberman, who remains chairman of Yisrael Beytenu, welcomed the faction’s newest MK, Yulia Malinovsky.

Malinovsky was placed seventh on the party list for the 2015 elections, leaving her without a Knesset seat when the party won just six seats. After his appointment to the Defense Ministry, however, Liberman gave up his seat under the “Norwegian Law,” paving the way for Malinovsky to enter the Knesset.