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FM Liberman: I Will Insist on Defense Ministry in Next Coalition

Published on: February 8, 2015

Fooreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said Saturday that he would demand to be appointed defense minister in the next government as a condition for having his Yisrael Beytenu party join the coalition — no matter who is charged with forming a government following the March 17 elections.

FM Liberman told Channel 2 Saturday that his party was still an “integral part of the nationalist camp” and “will do everything possible so that it remains in power.”

The foreign minister added, however, that he didn’t “rule out [sitting in a coalition] with anyone.”

Yisrael Beytenu “will demand and will get the Defense Ministry,” FM Liberman said.

The foreign minister also said he was dissatisfied with the way Israel handled Operation Protective Edge over the summer, and it was one of the reasons he wanted to head the Defense Ministry.

“Fifty days of war and they [Hamas] are still in power [in the Gaza Strip]? They continue to produce rockets, to build tunnels,” he said.

“Look at how the Jordanians responded to the killing of its pilot [at the hands of the Islamic State]. That’s how we should respond. This is the only way in the Middle East. There must be a strong response,” he added.

After the Islamic State released a gruesome video this week showing the burning alive of captive pilot Mu’ath al-Kaseasbeh, Jordan promptly executed two prisoners linked to the terror group that rules large swaths of land in Syria and Iraq, and stepped up its airstrikes on IS targets as part of the US-led coalition against it.

In the wide-ranging interview, FM Liberman also said he trusted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would “make the right decision” following the furor surrounding his upcoming address to Congress on March 3.

“I am in no position to give advice to the prime minister. He understands the significance of ties with the US,” FM Liberman said.

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