Analysis: The big cheese stands alone

When Yisrael Beytenu reveals its list for the next Knesset next Monday, the press will probably report that Avigdor Liberman chose it.

Then, the party’s spokespeople will inevitably send messages to reporters asking for corrections, as it did last time, which will go something like this: “Avigdor Liberman does not choose the list himself! We have an organizing committee!” To be fair, Yisrael Beytenu has an organizing committee to which candidates must send applications, but it would not release the names of its members when these lines were written and it seems to be inordinately influenced by Liberman – just like almost everything else in Yisrael Beytenu.

There are a few independent voices in the party – MK Orly Levy-Abecasis, an award-winning parliamentarian who is active on social issues, stands out more than anyone else – but, it would not be far-fetched to say most of the MKs do Liberman’s bidding most of the time. Yisrael Beytenu is mostly The Liberman Show.

That’s why, despite top Beytenu MKs falling like dominoes – Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, Tourism Minister Uzi Landau, Deputy Interior Minister and party secretary-general Faina Kirschenbaum and Knesset Law, Constitution and Justice Committee chairman David Rotem all say they will not run for the next Knesset, and Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir is rumored to be next – that problem is an optical illusion, not a real, structural one. The party’s foundations – a.k.a. Liberman – are still standing. Continue Reading

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