Subscribe to Print Edition | Thu., February 05, 2009 Shvat 11, 5769 | | Israel Time: 01:18 (EST+7)
Haaretz israel news English
Haaretz Toolbar
Defense Jewish World Opinion National
Print Edition
Car Rental
Books Haaretz Magazine Business Real Estate Joy of Giving Travel Week's End Anglo File
Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu
Last update - 00:12 05/02/2009
Elections 2009 / Netanyahu: Lieberman will be pivotal minister in my government
By Barak Ravid and Ora Koren, Haaretz Correspondents
Tags: Benjamin Netanyahu, Likud 

A week before general elections, the front-runner in the polls Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that he plans to appoint Yisrael Beitenu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman to a pivotal ministerial position in the government that he will establish once elected.

Speaking at a conference attended by some 1,000 people, Netanyahu refrained from attacking Lieberman, his main rival for the Russian sector's vote, and tried to send a message to Israel's Russian immigrants that only he, as prime minister, will be able to address their needs.
This policy of not attacking Lieberman is not entirely acceptable among the Likud's Russian members, who criticized the attempt to pass the Likud off as a "central" party rather than right wing.

Asia Antov, the head of the volunteer headquarters and the coordinator of Likud activists in West Bank settlements told Haaretz that the Russian speakers are looking to vote for an ideological right wing party, and mistakenly think that Lieberman's party is what they're looking for.

Antov added that she discovered that among the Russian speaking crowd, the Likud suffered losses when it pushed extreme right winger Moshe Feiglin to a low number on the party's list. She said that she believed that recent revelation that Lieberman had been a member of Kahane's extreme-right outlawed Kach movement will only garner him votes within this sector.

In efforts to sell the party to the Russian public, Netanyahu, along with Russian speaking Likud members Yuli Edelstein and Zeev Elkin, tried to explain to the conference attendants that Netanyahu's victory is not certain, and reiterated the notion that only Netanyahu will be able to resolve the issues dearest to the Russian immigrants.

Netanyahu dedicated the bulk of his speech to specific issues facing the immigrant population ? public housing, employment, absorption and most importantly, breaking the glass ceiling.

Another name that was mentioned frequently during the conference was Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. While Kadima's campaign has all but ignored Olmert, Likud is more than happy to bring up the partnership between Netanyahu's main rival Tzipi Livni and the unpopular outgoing prime minister, who was never liked among Russian Israelis.

Netanyahu says he's looking to form a unity government

On Tuesday, Netanyahu shot from the hip in all directions during his speech at the Herzliyah Conference.

"In a number of days, the citizens of Israel will run to finish the era of weakness and begin the era of empowerment. They will put an end to the era of illusions and weakening and usher in the way of recognizing reality," Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu vowed that if he is chosen as Israel's next prime minister he will "bring together all of the central forces [in Israel] as part of a national unity government as much as possible."

He added that his first step would be to turn to nationalist parties, but clarified that such a move "is not enough", and he will therefore call on "all of the Zionist parties to join the unity government."

Netanyahu said his call for unity is driven by the fact that "before the unprecedented challenges Israel faces, we must stand together to bring the best people in the country, the most experienced and serious people in order to ensure our future."

The Likud Chief repeated the party's slogans during his speech, adding that as early as three years ago he predicted that missiles would be able to reach Ashdod and Ashkelon. He also said that as long as 12 years ago he predicted the growing threat of Iran.

Netanyahu said that he had spoken to U.S. President Barack Obama and come away with the clear impression that Obama "understands well the threat that Iran poses to Israel," and added that in his mind the Iranian threat is the biggest facing Israel and that it will be his biggest mission if elected.

Netanyahu also spoke against the Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip, saying that if Israel wanted to remove the missiles militants fire regularly from the salient, "we have no choice but to remove the Iranian-backed regime in Gaza."

Kadima party MK Yoel Hasson issued a response to Netanyahu's speech, saying "How does Bibi [Netanyahu] expect us to believe that he can recruit the Obama administration to his side, and work against Iran, if when it comes to the Palestinian issue he differs 180 degrees from the Israeli government position and refuses to offer hopeful policy.

Related articles:
  • Benjamin Hussein Netanyahu, or, How a little bit of Obama goes a long way
  • Barak: World should toughen sanctions on Iran in light of satellite launch
  • Survey: Most Israelis want Benjamin Netanyahu to be prime minister
  • Bookmark to  
    Celebrities scam
    Arab world celebrities 'swindled of millions by Egyptian fraudster'.
    Holocaust denial
    Vatican: Bishop who denied the Holocaust must recant his positions.
      1.   Unity Government? 22:05  |  JW 04/02/09
      2.   The "Israeli" Three Stooges 22:23  |  JW 04/02/09
      3.   Bring It On, Bibi ! 22:32  |  Binyamin 04/02/09
     Haaretz Hot Topics
    Conflict in Gaza
    Israel vs. Hamas
    Iran: Nuclear and regional ambitions
    Israel goes to the polls

    More Headlines
    21:05 Gaza doctor who lost daughters in IDF strike: Everyone makes mistakes
    17:06 Mubarak: Hamas to blame for spilled Arab blood
    23:53 Elections 2009 / Poll reveals: The game is not over yet
    20:26 Lebanon says five rockets founds near border with Israel
    00:44 Israel intercepts Lebanese aid ship bound for Gaza Strip
    00:12 Elections 2009 / Netanyahu: Lieberman will be pivotal minister in my government
    23:30 Report: World's most wanted Nazi 'Doctor Death' died in 1992
    22:53 S. Africa politician apologizes for saying 'Jewish money controls America'
    20:06 UN: Hamas seized food and blankets from needy Gazans
    20:44 Amira Hass / Gazans set up make shift exhibit of Israeli weapons used in Cast Lead
    21:24 Arab world celebrities 'swindled of millions by Egyptian fraudster'
    18:20 Vatican: Bishop who denied the Holocaust must recant
    13:26 Report: Obama to offer Russia deal to cut nuclear arms by 80%
    15:46 World powers urge Iran to cooperate with UN over nuclear program
    Previous Editions
    Special Offers
    Summer in Israel
    Israeli style - Tzofim Chetz V'Keshet 2009
    Passover Vacations
    The BEST Passover Vacations around ? Mexico, Arizona and Florida
    Blue And White Forever Israel Army T-shirts
    Wear with Proud Donate the Soldiers Kit
    You can make a direct IMPACT!
    on the life of an Israeli soldier
    State of Israel Bonds
    During this time of market volatility, Israel bonds can help.
    Keep current about new-wave medical care, education and research.
    Camp Kimama Israel 2009
    The best place for your children this summer
    Fattal Hotel Chain
    Perfectly located hotels on best resorts of Israel.
    Eldan Rent a Car
    Israel's leading car rental company offers you a 20% discount on online reservations
    Jewish Singles Personal Ads
    Find the love of your life on
    Junk a car - get free towing nationwide and a tax-deductible receipt
    Home | TV | Print Edition | Diplomacy | Opinion | Arts & Leisure | Sports | Jewish World | Site rules |
    | Makom: Engaging on Israel | Search engine marketing, the online edition of Haaretz Newspaper in Israel, offers real-time breaking news, opinions and analysis from Israel and the Middle East. provides extensive and in-depth coverage of Israel, the Jewish World and the Middle East, including defense, diplomacy, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the peace process, Israeli politics, Jerusalem affairs, international relations, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, the Palestinian Authority, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the Israeli business world and Jewish life in Israel and the Diaspora.
    © Copyright  Haaretz. All rights reserved