Avigdor Lieberman

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Avigdor Lieberman
Date of birth 5 June 1958 (1958-06-05) (age 60)
Place of birth Kishinev, Moldavian SSR, Soviet Union
Year of aliyah 1978
Knessets 15, 16, 17, 18
Party Yisrael Beiteinu
Former parties Likud
Ministerial posts
(current in bold)
Deputy Prime Minister
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Minister of Strategic Affairs
Minister of Transportation
Minister of National Infrastructure

Avigdor Lieberman (born Evet Lvovich Lieberman on June 5, 1958[1]) is an Israel politician, Israel Minister of Foreign Affairs, Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Yisrael Beiteinu party.

Lieberman has called for Israel to redraw its borders to hand over Arab areas to the Palestinians while retaining major settlement blocs, and require all Israelis, including the often anti-Zionist Haredim and Arab citizens of Israel, to sign loyalty oaths or lose their right to vote. Despite Lieberman's backing of the so-called "two-state solution"[2], a large number of media sources describe him as "far-right" or "ultra-nationalist", while other right-wing parties, which completely oppose the creation of a Palestinian state are usually described as religious or hard-line. [3]

In October 2006, Lieberman and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert signed a coalition agreement under which Lieberman became the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Strategic Affairs, a new position with a focus towards the strategic threat from Iran.[4] However, he left the cabinet when Yisrael Beiteinu resigned from the coalition in January 2008. Lieberman's party emerged the third largest party in Israel after February 2009 general elections, and he is widely viewed as a kingmaker holding the key to the next government lead by the Likud party.

A polarizing figure within Israeli politics, Lieberman is quoted as saying, "I've always been controversial because I offer new ideas. For me to be controversial, I think this is positive."[5]


Biography

Born in Kishinev (in the Soviet Union Moldova), As a teenager, Lieberman worked as a nightclub bouncer in Moldavia,[6] and as a broadcaster in Baku before immigrating to Israel in 1978 at the age of 20. In Israel he served in the Israel Defense Forces, and received a BA in International Relations and Political Science from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Lieberman was a member of the Kach Party for a few months around 1979.[7] From 1983 to 1988 Lieberman helped found the Zionist Forum for Soviet Jewry and was a member of the Board of the Jerusalem Economic Corporation and the Secretary of the Jerusalem branch of the Histadrut Ovdim Le'umit ("National Workers' Union"). From 1993 to 1996 he served as Director-General of the Likud party, and from 1996 to 1997 was Director-General of the Prime Minister's office serving Benjamin Netanyahu. In 1999 he founded the Yisrael Beiteinu party, and was the editor of the newspaper Yoman Yisraeli (Israeli Diary). Lieberman supports Israeli membership in the European Union and NATO.[8]

Lieberman was elected to the Knesset in 1999, and served as Chairman of the Israel-Moldova Parliamentary Friendship League. In March 2001 Lieberman was appointed Minister of National Infrastructure, but resigned the post in March 2002. He was re-elected in January 2003 as part of a joint National Union-Yisrael Beiteinu list, and in February was appointed Minister of Transportation. However, he was sacked from the cabinet by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in May 2004 due to his opposition to the disengagement plan.

Lieberman is married, with three children, and resides in Nokdim in the West Bank.

References