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How Liberman is positioning himself to lead Israeli right

Avigdor Liberman's strategy to take leadership of the Israeli right wing was on display at a recent Yisrael Beitenu meeting.
Israeli Jewish Home party leader Naftali Bennett (L) greets former Israeli foreign minister and ultra-nationalist MP Avigdor Lieberman during a session of the Israeli parliament in which MPs are debating whether to approve Lieberman's appointment as defence minister, on May 30, 2016 in Jerusalem.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's cabinet voted to expand his coalition and appoint hardliner Avigdor Lieberman as defence minister, bringing weeks of political intrigue -- and outrage -- towards a close.
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One day after the deadly Jan. 8 vehicular attack in Jerusalem’s Armon HaNetziv neighborhood, Yisrael Beitenu's Knesset faction meeting focused on the strategic approach recently espoused by its chairman, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman. The approach, which Liberman has deployed over the past few weeks, is intended to position him as leader of Israel’s moderate right.

In normal times, the comments Liberman made would have been perceived as signs of a bitter clash between him and another candidate for leadership of the right, Education Minister and HaBayit HaYehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett. While Liberman’s remarks were overshadowed by the tempest surrounding the criminal investigation into Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s various dealings, they nonetheless shed light on the struggle emerging among the Israeli right. It is now clear that it will be one of the most intriguing aspects of the next election cycle.

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