Ron Jacobsohn Talks to Experts about Lieberman’s Political Future Ron Jacobsohn Talks to Experts about Lieberman’s Political Future
Ron Jacosohn – JN Correspondent: Avigdor Lieberman’s acquittal from any wrong doing, after almost 17-years of various allegations and investigations, has put the Israeli... Ron Jacobsohn Talks to Experts about Lieberman’s Political Future

Ron Jacosohn – JN Correspondent: Avigdor Lieberman’s acquittal from any wrong doing, after almost 17-years of various allegations and investigations, has put the Israeli political landscape in spin mode as everyone is trying to figure out what will be Lieberman’s next political move. We’ve asked some of our trusted experts to try and put some sense of all the rumors.

Dr. Haim Shein, who teaches Political Philosophy and is a regular contributor to the opinions section at Israel Hayom claims that Lieberman has come out a out of this whole affair a hero, in the eyes of the public.

Dr. Haim Shein, Israel Hayom: People feel that after 17 years of investigation, if he was acquitted at the court, people feel that the Israeli ministry of justice and the police ran after him and therefore many Israelis think that he was a kind of hero, because after 17 years he became clean.
Until now, the disagreement was between the minister Naftali Bennett and Tzipi Livni, who is negotiating with the Palestinians. Now I feel that the fight will be between Avigdor Lieberman and Tzipi Livni, and I think that Avigdor Lieberman is a better warrior than anybody else. Avigdor Lieberman understands that to be the Israeli Prime Minister it’s, the only way to do it through the Likud, that one way or another way I’m sure that he will join the Likud and there will be a combat about the leadership of the Likud party.
Dr. Jonathan Rynhold, of the Begin-Sadat Center at Bar Ilan University, has no doubt that Lieberman’s end game is becoming the Prime Minister of Israel.
Dr. Jonathan Rynhold – Bar Ilan University: In the short term, The Foreign minister would be weaker, he is part of a larger party, the Likud, where he doesn’t have that many supporters, the public are not particularly excited by him, the broader public and Netanyahu is far and away the most popular leader in Israel, there’s no to challenge him to be prime Minister.
However, moving forward, a very smart politician like Avigdor Lieberman will seek to build up his support, because in the long run there’s no doubt that his objective is to be Prime Minister. Well, in order to have a chance of being Prime Minister he would need to move from within the confines of his party, Yisrael Beiteinu, Yisrael Beitein’s base in mainly Israelis of Russian extraction or ideologically secular right-wingers, and that is not a big enough base to become the largest party and to become Prime Minister of Israel, to form a coalition, so to do that he may well have to, at some stage, try and become head of the Likud and he would have to put the emphasis on his pragmatism in order to gain some support or at least legitimacy from the center of the Israeli political spectrum. Otherwise, it would be very difficult for him to form a government.
Professor Yossi Shain, who teaches International Affairs at Georgetown University, explains that Lieberman is just one example of the changing landscape of how politicians are treated by modern society.
Prof. Yossi Shain – Georgetown University: The politicians are under scrutiny, the very essence of politics is being sort of like, criminalized in some ways and so there are lots of issues here pertaining to the legality of the system and the questions of ethics; how much ethics in politics or suspicion can be brought to bear on the life of a politician. It’s part and parcel of the discussion on morality in society which deviates from general issues to the most, to the most I would call ‘common’, lowest common denominator, it’s about debunking the political system. And it’s about, of course, the scrutiny, as you said, of politicians by everybody including the media which is in what in India they call it ‘Got you Media’, sort of like let’s say how will get whom, this is like who will get the next scandal, who will get the next corruption issues and of course when you have the Foreign Minister of Israel, Prime Minister of Israel and others, people looking, they say wow the whole system is corrupt, but that’s not the case. The case is that we needs checks and balances and sometimes we deviate from the checks and balances and the Attorney general himself indicated when we start to look or corruption in places it doesn’t exist, we basically injured the system rather than enhancing it and the whole system of watchdogs is creating this kind of like an atmosphere when many people who want to go to public services say why do I need this, if immediately kind of like I’m going to be debunked, so one has to think very carefully where Israel is going, like many other countries in the world, with this culture that is now pervading in society.
Ron Jacosohn – JN Correspondent: So it seems that Lieberman is not making any hasty decisions when it comes to his political future and, as of now, all options are still on the table.
For JN1 I am Ron Jacobsohn in Tel-Aviv.

 

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