Skip to main content

Liberman's secret plan to storm the Likud Party

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman considers registering thousands of his supporters in the Likud Party, which will enable him to take control of it on his way to the premier's seat.
Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman attends a meeting with the business community in Uganda's capital Kampala, September 10, 2009. Lieberman, accompanied by business and military delegation, is on an official African visit to Ethiopia, Kenya, Ghana, Uganda, and Nigeria. REUTERS/James Akena (UGANDA POLITICS BUSINESS) - RTR27O1U
Read in 

After the launch of Avigdor Liberman’s new 2014 persona, all we have left to do is find out what road the foreign minister will take to realize his dream of becoming the prime minister of Israel, to where he emigrated in 1978 from the Soviet Union at age 20. Liberman faces a simple dilemma: Either he returns to his independent Yisrael Beitenu Party to scrape up some 20 seats out of the 120-seat parliament — which is not an impossible feat — or he will dismantle his own party and join the Likud Party to seize control of the ruling party from within, thus earning a ready-made political platform.

Liberman joined the Likud ranks as soon as he arrived in Israel, serving as the party’s director-general when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took control of it in 1993. He still holds onto many important power bases in that party, among its constituents as well as in the party’s caucus. That said, Liberman faces fierce opposition inside the Likud from all those who consider his return as jeopardizing their own standing and future. Minister of the Interior Gideon Sa’ar, Defense Minister Moshe (Bogie) Ya’alon, Minister for Regional Development Silvan Shalom and maybe even Minister for Strategic Affairs Yuval Steinitz are hoping to succeed Netanyahu some day. There are also the various radical elements, chief among them Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely, Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon, Coalition Chairman Yariv Levin and others who construe Liberman’s moderate political views and his surprising pragmatism to be a threat to them. The latter, combined with the settlers, who make up many of the Likud constituents, will see Liberman as a foreign element that should be prevented from making a “hostile takeover” of the party.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.