War of Words Continues Between Liberman and Father of Barkan Victim

YERUSHALAYIM -

The war of words between Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and the father of Kim Levengrond Yechezkel, Hy”d, along with Ziv Hajabi, Hy”d, continued Thursday, when Levengrond on Army Radio accused Liberman of shirking his duty. “He promised to demolish the homes of terrorists, but he is not doing that. He is not doing his job. He is not fulfilling his role as defense minister,” Levengrond said.

The now-open feud between Levengrond and Liberman erupted Wednesday, when the defense minister canceled a meeting with the families of Hajabi and Levengrond to update them on the investigations into the murder and the whereabouts of Ashraf Nalaweh, the terrorist who killed the two Israelis, who is still at large.

The cancellation came after Hadashot News on Tuesday broadcast a recording of a conversation between Levengrond and a Defense Ministry official, regarding the partial demolition of the home of Ashraf Nalaweh, the terrorist who killed the two Israelis who is still at large. Earlier Tuesday, the IDF Central Command, Nadav Padan, signed an order for the partial demolition of Nalaweh’s home, which related to the first floor and basement of the home in the village of Shweka near Tul Karem.

In the broadcast conversation, Yechezkel is heard discussing the demolition order with the Defense Ministry official. When he heard that just the first floor of the home would be sealed and demolished, Yechezkel told the official, “So in other words, you are doing nothing. They destroyed my family; why are we having consideration for them? Did he think about my family when he murdered my daughter? About her son who is now an orphan, who will never know his mother? As far as I am concerned, if the issue is to demolish a small corner of the house, don’t bother.” When the official told Yechezkel that “the minister is limited in what he can do,” the latter replied that “he was elected to fulfill an agenda, and if he cannot, let him leave the job for someone who can.”

The leak raised the ire of Liberman, who canceled the meeting. Informing the families of the cancellation, Liberman wrote that he had “wholeheartedly planned to meet with you and update you on the search for the killer of your loved ones. I invited senior Shin Bet and IDF officials to the meeting to provide you with an in-depth picture of our efforts. Unfortunately, you recorded the conversation with an IDF officer who called you at my instructions and released the conversation to the media. Under these circumstances, we cannot have an open and honest dialogue. As a result, the meeting scheduled for Wednesday will not take place.”

Speaking afterwards, Levengrond told Hadashot News that he wanted Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to fire Liberman. “How can we trust him to run a war when he cannot answer questions about my daughter’s murder?” he said. “He is incapable of managing defense. Does he realize what is going on in the Gaza border area? What is he doing about it? He has no business being defense minister. I will fight to ensure that he is not even a Knesset member anymore.”

Continuing his criticism Thursday, Levengrond told Army Radio that “a good example of Liberman’s ineffectiveness is his distribution of notices in Yehudah and Shomron that anyone who helped the terrorist will have their home demolished. And some arrests have been made for aiding the terrorist. But have their homes been demolished? Why is it a problem to demolish a whole house that we have to be satisfied with half a house? He is hiding behind the High Court, using that as an excuse not to do his job. Let them demolish the homes, and if the High Court says it was a mistake, they can rebuild it. We can rebuild their homes, but they can’t restore the life of my daughter,” he said.