The Knesset plenum approved on Monday the appointment of Avigdor Lieberman as foreign minister.
During the session, MK Zahava Gal-On (Meretz) claimed the appointment would be ”no less than an explosive device for Israel`s foreign relations,” while MK Micky Rosenthal (Labor) said Lieberman must tell the public ”where he got the millions in his account.”
MK Jamal Zahalka of the National Democratic Assembly called on the Palestinian Authority to immediately suspend the peace talks in light of the appointment, which he claimed was consistent with the government`s intentions and policy. MK Hanna Swaid (Hadash) also lambasted the appointment, saying ”now the government has a true rightist striker who will thwart the peace process and hurt the citizens of Israel.”
Ahmad Tibi of the Ra`am-Ta`al-Mada faction described Lieberman`s appointment as a fitting capstone ”in a government where everyone competes over who will be more fanatic.”
MK Nissim Zeev congratulated Lieberman on his recent acquittal on corruption charges ”after 17 years of counter-propaganda, which is unbecoming of the Israeli justice system.”
Labor MK Hilik Bar caused a storm when he announced that he disagreed with several of his colleagues on the left who ”called the minister-designate a fascist and a racist.” Bar and MK Gal-On, who was infuriated by the breaking of ranks, argued for several minutes.
Deputy Minister Ofir Akunis (Likud) addressed the argument when he responded to the opposition`s reservations about Lieberman`s reinstatement as foreign minister. ”The left`s freedom of expression shows they are incapable of hearing another opinion,” he said.
The Knesset approved the appointment by a vote of 62-17, with one abstention. Following the vote, Lieberman was sworn-in as foreign minister.