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Israeli opposition's new power couple

The emergency conference on diplomacy organized by former Ministers Avigdor Liberman and Yair Lapid presents them as political allies of the opposition parties.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and Finance Minister Yair Lapid (back to camera) congratulate Israeli far-right leader Avigdor Lieberman after he was sworn in as Israel's Foreign Minister at the parliament in Jerusalem November 11, 2013. Lieberman was sworn in as foreign minister on Monday after his acquittal on corruption charges, a development that could further complicate peace talks with the Palestinians. REUTERS/Amir Cohen (JERUSALEM - Tags: POLITICS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTX159MP
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“Fat chance,” is how Avigdor Liberman, the chairman of the Yisrael Beitenu Party, reportedly related to the possibility that in the next elections he would team up and form a joint slate with Yair Lapid, the chairman of the Yesh Atid Party. After organizing the Feb. 29 conference with Lapid under the heading “Fighting for Israel’s international standing,” Liberman has been repeatedly asked that question. At the conference, held at the Knesset to great media attention, the two gleefully took potshots at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who also serves as the foreign minister.

Liberman and Lapid sought to distance their public move from far-reaching partisan contexts, explaining that they teamed up ad hoc for a very specific reason, namely to salvage what is left of Israel’s diplomacy, which they charge Netanyahu has been systematically destroying. “The Foreign Ministry is nobody’s private domain, not even the Netanyahu family,” the leader of Yisrael Beitenu lashed out. “Netanyahu is trying to take Israel’s foreign service and physically destroy it. … This government has no foreign policy,” he said. Looking very serious, Lapid said, “Our international standing has never — in all the years of the country since 1948 — been so bad.”

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