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World View: Netanyahu’s Selection of Avigdor Lieberman Criticized In and Out of Israel

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This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Netanyahu’s selection of Avigdor Lieberman criticized in and out of Israel
  • Lieberman’s lack of experience compared to Amir Peretz

Netanyahu’s selection of Avigdor Lieberman criticized in and out of Israel

Avigdor Lieberman (L) and Benjamin Netanyanu (Reuters)
Avigdor Lieberman (L) and Benjamin Netanyanu (Reuters)

Press reports from Israel and around the world are almost unanimous in condemning the choice by Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyanu for the new Defense Minister to be minister Avigdor Lieberman, head of the Yisrael Beiteinu (“Israel is our home”) political party, forming what liberals are calling  “the most right-wing government in history.”

Yisrael Beiteinu holds five or six seats of the 120 in the Knesset (Israel’s parliament). Netanyahu has been governing with a razor-thin majority of 61 seats, and joining with Yisrael Beiteinu gives him at least 66 seats.

Lieberman is usually described as “a hard right racist,” because of his anti-Arab rhetoric. He questions Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s commitment to peace, and he also questions the loyalty of Arab citizens of Israel, and has proposed deporting Arabs who cannot pass a loyalty test. He also led a recent parliamentary drive to exclude Arab parties from running for election, a move that was overturned by Israel’s supreme court.

A Palestinian Authority (PA) statement said that the appointment of Lieberman means that the PA no longer has a partner in the peace process. “The appointment of Lieberman to serve as a minister in Netanyahu’s government is an answer to the regional, international and French efforts to reinvigorate the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.”

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, the selection of a far-right defense minister is part of a movement to the right in countries around the world, with increased nationalism and xenophobia, as I’ve been writing about for years. This is what happens during a generational Crisis era. It’s what happened in the 1930s, and it’s what happening today. Ynet (Israel) and Forward (Israel) and AFP

Lieberman’s lack of experience compared to Amir Peretz

Israel's Defense Minister Amir Peretz (right) in 2007 looking through binoculars with the lens cap on. On the left is the army's new Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi. They're reviewing a military drill in the Golan Heights.
Israel’s Defense Minister Amir Peretz (right) in 2007 looking through binoculars with the lens cap on. On the left is the army’s new Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi. They’re reviewing a military drill in the Golan Heights.

Avigdor Lieberman has had no military experience, and so he’s being compared to Israel’s previous Defense Minister who had no previous military experience — Amir Peretz.

In 2007, I and others mocked Peretz mercilessly because he was photographed, while reviewing a military drill in the Golan Heights, by looking through binoculars without removing the lens cap. (From February 2007: “This week’s idiot of the week: Israeli defense minister Peretz”.)

In other words, the person in charge of the army didn’t know how binoculars worked. If that were his only sin, it might have been forgotten by now.

But Peretz was also responsible for the 2006 war against Hezbollah in Lebanon. That war was a total disaster for Israel. When two Israeli soldiers were abducted by Hezbollah, Israel went into a state of total panic, and launched the war in Lebanon within four hours, with no plan and no objectives. In the next few weeks, the supposed objectives changed on an almost daily basis. ( “How Israel panicked in pursuing the summer Lebanon war with Hizbollah.”)

Lieberman will presumably not make the same kinds of mistakes that Peretz did, but maybe he will. At any rate, Peretz’s experience illustrates the enormous dangers of putting a politician in charge of an organization, when the politician doesn’t have the vaguest clue what he’s doing. Jewish Telegraphic Agency

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Israel, Benjamin Netanyanu, Avigdor Lieberman, Yisrael Beiteinu, Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, Amir Peretz, Hezbollah, Lebanon
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