Outrage over MK Liberman’s Remarks

Leader of Yisrael Beytenu Avigdor Liberman leads a faction meeting in the Knesset on November 20, 2019.
Photo: Hadas Parush/FLASH90

Avigdor Liberman, leader of Yisrael Beytenu, has drawn criticism from across the political spectrum for his remarks during his speech on Wednesday in which he ruled out joining “a narrow right- or left-wing government or a minority government.”

At a meeting of United Torah Judaism MKs following the speech, Deputy Health Minister Rabbi Yaakov Litzman described it as “a disgraceful and ugly horror show…full of lies, full of ignorance and hatred.”  Rabbi Litzman said that it “would not have shamed the greatest haters” of Yiddishkeit through history and continued, “Unfortunately it can be said that today anti-Semitism has been rediscovered.” He called on Israeli leaders to ensure that the chareidi kehillah is not harmed by Liberman’s “harsh and ugly incitement.”

MK Rabbi Yisrael Eichler compared Liberman’s methods to those of the Russian czars and described his words as “a war crime”. In a strong speech he referenced the Kishinev pogrom of 1903, saying “This is what they did to the Jews of Kishinev [now Moldovan capital Chisinau] and this is what the Kishinev native is doing today.” Liberman was born in Chisinau while it was part of the USSR.

Finance Committee chairman MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni said that Liberman “has to leave the political system.” He described him as a “neighbourhood bully” and an anti-Semite.

Meanwhile on the left wing, Labor-Gesher MK Merav Michaeli said that Liberman had a vision of Israel “minus Arabs and chareidim“, who she said are part of Israeli society.

Ahmad Tibi, MK for the Joint List said Liberman’s words were “pure racism and anti-Semitism. We will continue building bridges…despite the differences of opinion.”