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Avigdor Liberman’s followers accept his worldview change

As at this time there is a slim chance for a minority government supported by the Arab Joint List, Yisrael Beitenu leader Avigdor Liberman’s base accepts the moderate and unusual stance of the party regarding such a government.
Avigdor Lieberman, leader of Yisrael Beitenu party, delivers a statement following his party faction meeting, near Neve Ilan, Israel September 22, 2019. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun - RC1B5B9174A0
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In a few weeks, the strangest, perhaps even most dramatic, year in the history of Israeli politics will come to an end. Who would have believed at the end of 2018 when Yisrael Beitenu leader Avigdor Liberman resigned from the Defense Ministry that in 12 months Israel would still be without a government? Who would have guessed that the Arab Joint List would recommend Blue and White leader Benny Gantz to form a government? And who would have imagined that there would be a possibility, at least theoretically, for a narrow center-left government with some kind of support of Yisrael Beitenu and the Joint List, with large segments of the Israeli public believing that it's a realistic option?

The man responsible to a large extent for this political knot and some of these moves is none other than Liberman, the chairman of Yisrael Beitenu, a party that for years has consistently voted against legislation that would advance the rights of LGBTQ citizens and whose leader is known for his racist views toward Israeli Arab citizens. And here, within a few months, the Arabs who had always been marked by Liberman as “traitors” and worthy of boycott have nearly turned into partners in the formation of a government headed by Gantz. And here, Knesset member Osama Saadi (Joint List) told journalist Nir Gontarz in Haaretz that he met with Knesset member Eli Avidar, who in June this year was the first member of Knesset from Yisrael Beitenu to participate in a pride march (in Jerusalem). In addition, Yisrael Beitenu has for the first time submitted a bill to establish civil marriage in Israel that includes LGBTQ couples.

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