|Date of birth||5 July 1958|
|Place of birth||Kishinev, Soviet Union|
|Year of aliyah||1978|
|Knessets||15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20|
|Faction represented in Knesset|
|2001–2002||Minister of National Infrastructure|
|2003–2004||Minister of Transportation|
|2006–2008||Deputy Prime Minister|
|2006–2008||Minister of Strategic Affairs|
|2009–2012||Deputy Prime Minister|
|2009–2012||Minister of Foreign Affairs|
|2013–2015||Minister of Foreign Affairs|
|2016–||Minister of Defense|
Avigdor Lieberman (Hebrew: אביגדור ליברמן, IPA: [aviɡˈdor ˈliberman], (audio) (help·info); born Evet Lvovich Liberman, Russian: Эве́т Льво́вич Ли́берман, 5 July 1958) is a Soviet-born Israeli politician who serves as the Defense Minister of Israel. He served as Israel's Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2009 to 2012, and again from 2013 to 2015. He has also served as member of the Knesset and as Deputy Prime Minister of Israel.
He is the founder and leader of the secular-nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu party, whose electoral base are overwhelmingly Russian-speaking immigrants from the former Soviet Union. As a result of the arrival in Israel during the 1990s of more than one million Russian-speaking immigrants, Yisrael Beiteinu has regularly played the 'king-maker' role in Israel's coalition governments.
Lieberman first entered the Knesset in 1999, and has since served in numerous roles in the government, including as Minister of National Infrastructure, Minister of Transportation, Minister of Strategic Affairs, Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Affairs Minister, and Minister of Defense.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Political positions
- 3 Media perception
- 4 Controversies
- 5 Investigations and allegations
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Early life and early career
Lieberman was born to a Russian-speaking family on 5 July 1958 in Kishinev, Soviet Union (now Chișinău, Moldova). His father Lev (18 May 1921 – 2 July 2007) was a writer, who had served in the Red Army and spent seven years in a Siberian exile under Joseph Stalin's rule, where he met Evet's mother Esther (2 July 1924 - 4 December 2014). His parents embued him with a strong secular Jewish identity and consciously taught him only Yiddish up to the age of three. Inheriting a love of Russian literature from his father, Lieberman had dreamed of becoming a poet. Lieberman attributes his forthright personality to his youth in the large Jewish community of 1970s Kishinev, saying: "Jews were 25 percent of the population of Kishinev [during the 1970s]... We were more affluent, better educated, and we showed it... The Jews of Moldova have this no-nonsense streak."
After high school, Lieberman enrolled at the Chișinău Agriculture Institute with a hydrological land improvement major. As a student in Moldova, he won first prize for a play he wrote, and he dreamed of a literary career.
Lieberman and his family immigrated to Israel in 1978, and Lieberman changed his first name to 'Avigdor'. He was conscripted into the Israel Defense Forces and served in the Artillery Corps, attaining the rank of Corporal. After his military service, he enrolled in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and earned a Bachelor of Arts in international relations and political science.
During his studies he was active in the student group, "Kastel", associated with the Likud. Relations between Kastel and Arab student groups were tense and often deteriorated into violence. According to Maariv, based on the testimony of a witness who was a student at the time, Lieberman participated in a few of the violent clashes. Lieberman said that he was involved in two. Jamal Zahalka, an Arab Knesset member from Balad who was also a student at the time and active in Arab groups, claimed that he remembers Lieberman as yelling a lot but avoiding any of the rough action.
Haaretz wrote that Lieberman was briefly involved with the Kach party of Rabbi Meir Kahane shortly after his immigration to Israel. The membership claims were based on the testimony of two activists in the movement, Avigdor Eskin and Yosef Dayan, who said that Lieberman was a member of the party for a short-term period. Lieberman rejected the story, and called the publication an "orchestrated provocation". Kach was barred from participating in the election in 1988 under the revised Knesset Elections Law banning parties that incited racism and was declared a terrorist organization in 1994.
While studying at the Hebrew University, Lieberman worked as a bouncer at the student club "Shablul" (lit. "snail"), which is where he met his future wife. A year later, Lieberman was promoted to general manager, responsible for all the activities at the club.
From 1983 to 1988, Lieberman helped found the Zionist Forum for Soviet Jewry, and was a member of the Board of the Jerusalem Economic Corporation and the Secretary of the Jerusalem branch of the Histadrut Ovdim Le'umit ("National Workers' Union"). In 1988, he started working with Benjamin Netanyahu. From 1993 to 1996, following Netanyahu's election as party leader, Lieberman served as Director-General of the Likud party. After Netanyahu was elected Prime Minister, Lieberman served as Director-General of the Prime Minister's Office from 1996 to 1997.
In 1997, Lieberman resigned from Likud after Prime Minister Netanyahu granted concessions to the Palestinians in the Wye River Memorandum, and expressed disappointment when Yisrael BaAliyah, a new immigrant's party headed by Natan Sharansky that had right-center leanings, did not quit the coalition government in protest. In 1999, Lieberman formed the Yisrael Beiteinu party to create a platform for Soviet immigrants who supported a hard line in negotiations with the Palestinians. The party ran for the Knesset during the 1999 legislative election, and ran on a joint list with Aliyah, a party formed by Michael Nudelman and Yuri Stern, who had broke away from Yisrael BaAliyah. The new party won four seats, one of which was taken by Lieberman. Lieberman served on the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and State Control Committee, and as Chairman of the Israel-Moldova Parliamentary Friendship League.
In March 2001, Lieberman was appointed Minister of National Infrastructure, but resigned the post in March 2002.
In the 2003 legislative election, Yisrael Beiteinu ran on a joint list with the National Union. The joint list won seven seats, with Yisrael Beiteinu being allotted four of them. In February 2003, Lieberman was appointed Minister of Transport, and chose to resign from the Knesset to take a seat in the Cabinet. He maintained leadership of the party and returned to the Knesset in 2006—later, he would simultaneously serve in the Knesset and Cabinet.
In May 2004, Lieberman was dismissed from the cabinet by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon due to his opposition to the Gaza disengagement, and Yisrael Beiteinu left the government in June in protest of the disengagement.
In the 2006 legislative election, Lieberman's party split from the National Union to run alone. The party won eleven seats, a gain from its previous six seats. It was initially in the opposition, but after a few months, in October 2006, Lieberman and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert signed a coalition agreement under which Lieberman became the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Strategic Affairs, a newly created position with a focus towards the strategic threat from Iran. In December 2006, he called Iranian nuclear proliferation "the biggest threat facing the Jewish people since the Second World War". He advocated that Israel join the European Union and NATO.
Lieberman resigned his cabinet position and Yisrael Beiteinu left the coalition in January 2008; he cited his opposition to the resuming peace talks, saying that "Negotiations on the basis of land for peace are a critical mistake ... and will destroy us."
Yisrael Beiteinu, which was described at times as Lieberman's "one man's party" for its media-closed meetings and party members' reluctance to give interviews, emerged as the third largest party in Israel after 2009 legislative election and on 16 March, it entered into the coalition government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Lieberman was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister.
On 25 October 2012, Lieberman and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that their respective political parties, Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu, had merged and would run together on a single ballot in Israel's 22 January 2013 general elections. "In view of the challenges we're facing, we need responsibility on a national level.... We're providing a true alternative, and an opportunity for the citizens to stabilize leadership and government," Lieberman said.
Lieberman was appointed Minister of Defense by Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu in May 2016. He subsequently resigned from the Knesset under the Norwegian Law, allowing Yulia Malinovsky to replace him.
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Upon taking office as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lieberman posed a clear message against application of provisions discussed at the Annapolis Conference, which stipulated the settlement of all negotiated issues prior to their implementation in the field, adding that these discussions were never ratified by the Knesset. He noted that Israel must abide, nonetheless, by the road map for peace – which held a demand for an 'End of Palestinian violence' as a first phase for furtherance of the negotiations process—as well as by the two accompanying Tenet and Zinni documents.
Lieberman had previously opposed the road map at the time of its adoption. He left Ehud Olmert's government due to his opposition to the Annapolis Conference. Lieberman followed his 1 April message with concerns that "[others] stand over us with a stopwatch" and that responsible and serious formulations of policy will take between one and two months.
Lieberman's office stated in early April that peace talks will continue when Palestinian government officials crack down on attacks against Israelis, after which the Israeli administration will reciprocate by freezing settlement construction or expansion in the West Bank. That position contradicts the Obama administration's new approach to the peace efforts, where Israel is requested to freeze all construction, including "natural growth" (i.e. "within existing construction lines") regardless of Palestinian commitments. The office also told U.S. special envoy George Mitchell that past negotiations did not bring any real results. Lieberman himself said in April, "The situation is deadlocked, and it is not because of us." He argued that a stable, successful peace effort requires Americans to focus on preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.
Lieberman and Prime Minister Netanyahu both planned to broaden the PR campaign overseen by the Foreign Ministry about Iran. Part of its new campaign focuses on Tehran's abuse of human rights and sponsorship of terrorism and also aims to appeal to those, such as the gay and lesbian communities, less concerned with Iran's nuclear aspirations and more fearful of its human rights abuses and mistreatment of minorities. Despite his status within the government, the Israeli police questioned Lieberman three times from he[clarification needed] took office to 11 April about the ongoing corruption investigation.
In early May 2009, Lieberman went on a European diplomatic mission, which went through Rome, Paris, Prague, and other cities. He met with his Foreign Minister counterparts, such as Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany, and he also paid his respects at Berlin's Holocaust memorial, laying a wreath at the 19,000-square-meter monument. On 4 May 2009, in a press conference in Italy, Avigdor Lieberman skirted around the issue of a Palestinian state, stating that "This government's goal is not to produce slogans or make pompous declarations, but to reach concrete results," adding that the government was still in the process of formulating its foreign policy. On another occasion in his trip, he stated that "Nothing is going to come out of this 'Peace Industry' except for conferences in five star Hotels and a waste of money." Generally speaking, the diplomatic mission was private and subject to restricted news coverage. In his remarks at the 2013 Sderot Conference for Society, Lieberman stated his support of multi-directional foreign policy, one that is more diverse. The weight of his statement came at a time when a preliminary deal between Israel and the US with Iran, which would partially freeze its rogue nuclear program, was in opposition.
On 7 May, Yediot Ahronot stated that Lieberman was appointed the minister in charge of strategic dialogue with the U.S. On 17 June, he appeared in a joint press conference with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in his first official visit to the U.S. Lieberman clashed with Clinton over the issue of Israeli settlements, with Lieberman dismissing her call to end settlement expansion. Financial Times described the meeting as "one of the most tense encounters between the sides for several years". Clinton also rejected Lieberman's assertion that the Bush administration had agreed to further building in the West Bank. Arutz Sheva stated afterward that Lieberman and Prime Minister Netanyahu both have the same position of settlement expansion and for retaining Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel.
In September 2009, Lieberman toured Africa to meet leaders and donate humanitarian aid, along with businessmen and officials from the Foreign Ministry, Finance Ministry, Defense Ministry, and National Security Council in an attempt to strengthen economic and trade ties and discuss the issue of the Iranian nuclear program. As part of his policy to create more diplomatic openings for Israel, Lieberman also sought to strengthen ties with countries in Eastern and Central Europe. In a 2011 interview, Prime Minister Netanyahu said that Lieberman had opened important places where Israel had never really had diplomatic opening to before.
Minister of Defense
In June 2016, Lieberman was appointed Israel's Minister of Defense, as a result of his party agreeing to join the government coalition.
Lieberman's first action as Defense Minister was to approve equal rights for the bereaving families of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender soldiers. Avigdor Lieberman issued an official document on behalf of the Defense Ministry in June 2016, declaring that the ministry "views same-sex and heterosexual families of fallen soldiers equally, and operates in accordance with this equality so that there is no difference in recognition and rights."
Lieberman and his wife Ella (née Tzipkin, born 16 June 1959), also a Moldovan immigrant to Israel, have a daughter Michal (born 22 June 1983) and two sons, Yaakov (born 15 March 1988) and Amos (born 14 September 1990). They live in the Israeli settlement of Nokdim, located in the Judean Desert of the West Bank, where they have resided since 1988. Lieberman stated that, despite having lived there for so long, he is willing to leave his home as part of a peace agreement.
Lieberman has a passion for Russian literature - stating that Pushkin is today celebrated more widely in Israel than he is in Russia. He often jokes about literary figures - once claiming to Putin that Pushkin was a descendent of Ethiopian Jews.
Lieberman's mother, Esther Lieberman, died on December 4, 2014. Lieberman cancelled a speech that was slated for the United States so that he could attend the funeral.
According to Lieberman, "The peace process is based on three false basic assumptions; that Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the main cause of instability in the Middle East, that the conflict is territorial and not ideological, and that the establishment of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders will end the conflict."
In late May 2004, Lieberman proposed a plan in which the populations and territories of Israeli Jews and Arabs, including some Israeli Arabs, would be "separated". According to the plan, also known as the "Populated-Area Exchange Plan", Israeli Arab towns adjacent to Palestinian Authority areas would be transferred to Palestinian Authority, and only those Arab Israelis who migrated from the area to within Israel's new borders and pledged loyalty to Israel would be allowed to remain Israeli citizens. On 30 May 2004, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon condemned Lieberman's statements, stating "We regard Israeli Arabs as part of the State of Israel." On 4 June 2004, as the disputes over the up-coming disengagement plan grew more intense, Sharon dismissed Lieberman from the cabinet.
After the 2009 Israeli elections, Lieberman said he changed his mind in recent years and decided to support the creation of a Palestinian state. He wrote in a letter to The Jewish Week that he "advocates the creation of a viable Palestinian state", and told The Washington Post that he would agree to the evacuation of Nokdim "if there really will be a two-state solution". He stated in the Knesset that "reality changes" and that his shift had occurred over the last few years. In his The Jewish Week article, Lieberman tried to explain his party's "no loyalty – no citizenship" campaign by writing: "During Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, I was appalled by the calls for the destruction of the State of Israel and for renewed suicide bombings that some Israeli Arab leaders called for at pro-Hamas rallies. Although 'responsible citizenship' had always been part of our platform, I realized that this was a burning issue that had to take top priority." He stated his "responsible citizenship" platform and compared his position to the express policy of nations around the world, saying: "In the U.S., those requesting a Green Card must take an oath that they will fulfill the rights and duties of citizenship."
On 5 January 2014, Lieberman again brought up his plan, saying that he would not support any peace plan that did not include such "an exchange". He said that when he talks about it, he refers to the Triangle and Wadi Ara.
Lieberman supports Israeli membership in the European Union and NATO. He considers Iran a serious threat to Israel, but initially came out in favor of further political/economic sanctions and opposed a military strike, saying that he cannot imagine the implications of armed action. However, Haaretz later reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak persuaded Lieberman to switch sides and support an attack.
While his party is sometimes described by the news media as doctrinally secular and aiming to reduce the role of the rabbinical system in government, it actually supports the continuation of the role of Orthodox rabbinical courts, but wants more nationally-minded religious people, rather than the ultra-orthodox, in charge. It does not advocate introducing civil marriage within Israeli law, but rather to find a solution to some of those who cannot marry under such laws. It does not advocate a separation of religion and state in Israeli society.
Avigdor Lieberman advocates expansion of foreign relations with Azerbaijan due to the historical friendliness of Azerbaijanis towards Jewish minorities. Lieberman said:
"Even in the time of the Soviet Union, (Azerbaijan) was known to treat its Jewish community well, and there is no anti-Semitism there. We must continue strengthening our relations with Azerbaijan"
Azerbaijan–Israel relations play strategically important role against a common adversary of both countries, Iran. Recently, Lieberman supported Azerbaijan during 2016 Armenian–Azerbaijani clashes over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh 
A large number of media sources within and outside of Israel have labelled Yisrael Beiteinu and Lieberman as right wing  to far right or ultra-nationalist. However, in general, Israelis are divided on how to characterize Lieberman's politics. In a 2014 poll conducted in Israel, 62% saw Lieberman as a national leader.
Yisrael Beiteinu has shown support for a two-state solution and were also noted for a secularist approach upon leading new legislation for civil marriage in Israel as well as pushing for some relaxation in the conversion process. Several commentators, however, noted that these positions do not coincide with the party's platform. These positions which are contradictory to the tradition of right wing politics in Israel had been explained by Gershom Gorenberg as that following the Six Day War, opinions were split regarding the occupied territory, where being right-wing meant a position of holding onto the territory while being left-wing addressed a high level of willingness to give that territory away. He notes Lieberman to not be a right-winger by those terms as he's talking about giving occupied lands as well as land from sovereign Israel.
Statements towards Arab members of Knesset
A polarizing figure within Israeli politics, Lieberman is quoted as saying, "I've always been controversial because I offer new ideas. For me to be controversial, I think this is positive." Lieberman has called to redraw the border between Israel and the West Bank so that Israel would include large Jewish settlement blocs and the Palestinian state would include large Arab-Israeli population centers. He proposed that Israel's citizens should sign a loyalty oath or lose their right to vote.
In November 2006, Lieberman, who described Arab members of the Knesset that meet with Hamas as "terror collaborators", called for their execution: "World War II ended with the Nuremberg Trials. The heads of the Nazi regime, along with their collaborators, were executed. I hope this will be the fate of the collaborators in [the Knesset]."
The comment was attacked as racist by Eitan Cabel, a Labor party representative, and Ahmad Tibi, leader of the Arab party Ta'al and one-time advisor to Yasser Arafat, who demanded that "a criminal investigation be initiated against Lieberman for violating the law against incitement and racism". Tibi strongly objected to Lieberman's ministerial appointment, describing him as "a racist and a fascist". Labour minister Ophir Pines-Paz, who resigned over Lieberman's appointment, echoed Tibi's remarks, saying that Lieberman was tainted "by racist declarations and declarations that harm the democratic character of Israel".
In remarks in the Knesset in March 2008, shortly after the 6 March attack at Jerusalem's Mercaz HaRav yeshiva, Lieberman commented that "yesterday's attack can not be disconnected from the Arab MKs incitement, which we hear daily in the Knesset." Directing his comments at Arab MKs whose comments Lieberman describes as anti-Israel incitement, he added that "a new administration will be established and then we will take care of you."
Statements about Egypt
In 1998, news reports stated that Lieberman suggested the bombing of the Aswan Dam in retaliation for Egyptian support for Yasser Arafat. In 2001, reports stated that he told a group of ambassadors from the Former Soviet Union that if Egypt and Israel were ever to face off militarily again, that Israel could bomb the Aswan Dam.
Since the signing of the Egyptian–Israeli Peace Treaty, which followed Egyptian President Anwar Sadat's historic visit to Israel, multiple Israeli heads of state have visited Egypt on numerous occasions. However, Sadat's successor, Hosni Mubarak, visited Israel only once—for Yitzhak Rabin's funeral in 1995—and never participated in talks on Israeli soil. In 2008, while on the Knesset speaker's podium during its memorial for Rehavam Ze'evi, Lieberman raised the issue and said, "Mubarak never agreed to come here as president. He wants to talk to us? Let him come here. He doesn't want to talk to us? He can go to hell."
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and President Shimon Peres immediately apologized to the Egyptians. Lieberman accused the two of them of acting like "a battered wife". He explained his belief that the President and Prime Minister were wrong to ask forgiveness from Mubarak in that Egypt had provoked Israel just days earlier by identifying Israel as the enemy in a massive military exercise and that caricatures in the Egyptian media are akin to Nazi propaganda.
After Netanyahu began his term as Prime Minister in March 2009, government aides met with Egyptian officials and told them that Lieberman's role should not be a reason for tension between the two countries. News reports had previously been issued claiming that Egypt would not work with the Netanyahu administration unless Lieberman personally apologized. The administration labeled them "inaccurate and out of all proportion". On 9 April, Mubarak invited Netanyahu to meet with him personally in Sharm e-Sheikh. Unofficial channels for discussion were also reportedly being considered.
During a meeting with Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman in April 2009, Lieberman made an attempt at an apology, expressing "his respect and appreciation for Egypt's leading role in the region and his personal respect for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Minister Suleiman".
On 21 August, Lieberman said that it is important for Israel to make sure that the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty is upheld, and not to remain silent as Egyptian military forces enter the Sinai. Concern was raised by Israeli officials over Egyptian failure to notify Israel about the deployment of tanks in the Sinai, which violates the peace treaty. Lieberman said, "We must make sure that every detail is upheld, otherwise we'll find ourselves in a slippery slope as far as the peace treaty is concerned." As instability in the Sinai continued into the next month, Lieberman responded to calls to deploy more troops with "The problem in Sinai is not the size of the forces, it is their readiness to fight, to put pressure and to carry out the job as is needed."
On 28 August, Lieberman invited Egyptian President Morsi to visit Israel, after being encouraged by Morsi'is statements in late August that the Israel-Egypt peace treaty was secure. Lieberman said, "We certainly hope to see Morsi hosting official Israeli representatives soon; we want to see him giving interviews to Israeli media; we want to see him in Jerusalem as President (Shimon) Peres' guest."
Statements about Palestinians
Following a series of attacks on Israelis perpetrated by Palestinian militants during a three-day period in March 2002, Lieberman proposed issuing an ultimatum to the Palestinian National Authority to halt all militant activity or face wide-ranging attacks. He said, "if it were up to me I would notify the Palestinian Authority that tomorrow at ten in the morning we would bomb all their places of business in Ramallah, for example." This led then Foreign Minister Shimon Peres to respond that excessive military measures could lead to accusations of war crimes and that the Israeli administration must not "escalate the situation".
In July 2003, reacting to a commitment made by then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to the US, where amnesty could be given to approximately 350 Palestinian prisoners including members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, Lieberman rejected a chance to participate in the related committee and said "It would be better to drown these prisoners in the Dead Sea if possible, since that's the lowest point in the world," Lieberman continued, according to Galei Tzahal ('Israel Army Radio'), by stating his willingness, as Minister of Transport, to supply buses to take the prisoners there. Lieberman's suggestion also led to confrontation between Lieberman and Arab-Israeli MKs Ahmed Tibi (Hadash-Ta'al), Jamal Zahalka (Balad), Taleb el-Sana, Abdelmalek Dahamsha (United Arab List) as well as then opposition leader Shimon Peres.
In January 2009, during the Gaza War, Lieberman argued that Israel "must continue to fight Hamas just like the United States did with the Japanese in World War II. Then, too, the occupation of the country was unnecessary." This threat has been interpreted by some media commentators, including Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as an allusion to Hiroshima and Nagasaki and as advocacy for a nuclear strike on Gaza.
In January 2014, according to Haaretz, Lieberman would not support any peace agreement that did not include the exchange of Israeli Arab land and population. Lieberman stated: "I will not support any peace deal that will allow the return of even one Palestinian refugee to Israel."
On 8 March 2015 he stated at a conference in Herzliya:
'Whoever is with us should get everything. Whoever is against us, there’s nothing else to do. We have to lift up an axe and remove his head, otherwise we won’t survive here. There is no reason that Umm al-Fahm will be part of Israel.'[verification needed]
This was interpreted by the JTA as meaning that Israeli Arab citizens who betray or oppose the Jewish state should be beheaded. However, Lieberman supports a territorial partition of Israel, whereby Israel would cut off Arab-Israeli areas and transfer them to a future Palestinian state.
Conflict with Mossad
In 2011, Lieberman became the first Foreign Minister to sever ties with the Mossad. Lieberman ordered the foreign ministry to boycott the Mossad, stop sharing information and stop inviting Mossad officials to discussions and meetings. This was after Lieberman said the Mossad has not followed the normal procedures.
Relationship to Vladimir Putin
After the 2011 Duma election, in which Russian President Vladimir Putin's party United Russia won, Lieberman was the first international politician to describe them as "absolutely fair, free and democratic". Putin has described Lieberman's own political career as "brilliant". Lieberman's pro-Russian stance and perceived friendly relations with Putin have also drawn criticism from fellow Israelis. Controversy also emerged when it was revealed that a chairman of Lieberman's party, Leon Litinitsky, was also employed by the Russian government, as a chairman of the Coordinating Council of Russian Compatriots, a position appointed by the Kremlin.
Investigations and allegations
Corruption investigation and trial
Some of Lieberman's connections with local and foreign businessmen were under police investigation. Lieberman allegedly received millions of shekels from various entrepreneurs while serving as member of Knesset; under Israeli law, MKs are not allowed to receive any payment beyond their salary. One claim was that Michael Cherney paid a company called Path to the East large amounts of money between the years 1999 and 2006, and that these sums were then allegedly passed on to Lieberman as a bribe. Other allegations concern a company called M.L.1, founded by Lieberman's daughter Michal when she was 21. These allegations concern money transferred to M.L.1 from unknown sources outside Israel; the money was later allegedly used for paying salaries to Avigdor and Michal Lieberman. Lieberman was also under investigation for receiving a bribe from Austrian-Jewish businessman Martin Schlaff.
Lieberman denies all allegations of wrongdoing in these cases, and claims that the police are conspiring against him. In particular, he has pointed to the proximity of his investigation to the 2009 Israeli elections and said that such investigations are "part of my routine before every parliamentary election." Allegations of bias on the part of the police have also been reported in Arutz Sheva, which reported that the investigation, which had been "ongoing for years, suddenly became active again once [Lieberman] left the government" in January 2008.
On 2 April 2009, Lieberman was questioned by police on suspicion of corruption for at least seven hours at the national squad headquarters in central Israel. It was part of an ongoing investigation examining his business dealings. Lieberman denied all allegations. He claimed the investigation has been dragged out, and had filed a petition to the court requesting a speedy process.
On 24 May 2010 the Israel Police recommended Lieberman's indictment for Breach of Trust, regarding the suspected receipt of classified information concerning ongoing criminal investigations into his activities. Former ambassador to Belarus, Ze'ev Ben Aryeh was also recommended for indictment. On 13 April 2011, the State Prosecutor's Office announced that it had decided to charge Lieberman with fraud, money laundering, breach of trust and witness tampering. The hearing was set for 17–18 January 2012. On 13 December 2012, a CNN breaking news blog post stated that the Israeli Justice Ministry had decided to only charge him with breach of trust and fraud, and not the more serious witness tampering and money laundering corruption charges. on 14 December 2012, Lieberman announced that he was removing his immunity and resigned as Foreign Minister. His trial began on 17 February 2013, and ended on 6 November 2013, with an acquittal. The three judges voted unanimously to acquit him. In the verdict, they wrote that while Lieberman had acted improperly in failing to inform the Foreign Ministry of his past dealings with Ben Aryeh, he was not guilty of criminal activity, as he had not been aware of the seriousness of the circumstances, and his appointment of Ben Aryeh had not been a promotion. Lieberman returned to his position as Foreign Minister on 11 November 2013, after the Israeli cabinet had approved his re-appointment to the office the previous day.
Conviction for assault
On 24 September 2001, Lieberman acknowledged in the Jerusalem District Court that he attacked a twelve-year-old youth from Tekoa, who had hit his son. The incident occurred in December 1999 in the Nokdim settlement. His son told him that three boys hit him. Lieberman located one of the boys in a trailer and hit him in the face. After the boy fell and was injured, Lieberman grabbed him by the shirt-collar and arm, took him back to his home in Tekoa and threatened that he would attack him again if he returned to Nokdim. He was charged with assaulting and threatening him. Lieberman was convicted based on his own confession in the context of a plea bargain. His attorney asked the judges, in the context of the arrangement, to restrict his punishment to a fine amid the defendant's promise that he will not commit such an act in the future. The judge ultimately ruled that Lieberman must pay the child a compensation of 10,000 NIS, and an additional fine of 7,500 NIS.
- "Factbox – Israel's Avigdor Lieberman". Reuters. 9 February 2009. Archived from the original on 12 February 2009. Retrieved 9 February 2009.
- Israel election: profile of 'kingmaker' Avigdor Lieberman
- Jewish Press News Briefs. "Mother of Avigdor Lieberman Dies". Jewish Press. Retrieved 9 December 2014.
- Lily Galili (28 June 2010). "All Is Heaven with Avigdor Lieberman". Patheos. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Авигдор Либерман - человек, сделавший себя К.А. Капитонов
- Dor le Dor interview, in Russian Archived 11 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
- "Five Questions/Five Answers". Bamahane (2984): 5. 3 April 2009.
- "Avigdor Lieberman: a man to watch". Today's Zaman. 5 February 2009.[dead link]
- Leibowitz-Dar, Sarah (14 March 2009). ליברמן הסטודנט: מבט לדמותו [Lieberman the student: view his image] (in Hebrew). nrg Maariv. Retrieved 22 September 2014. Includes photo of Lieberman as a student in 1980.
- Galili, Lily (4 February 2009). "Lieberman was involved in radical right Kach movement". Haaretz. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Tena, Samuel (4 February 2009). "Account: Lieberman was a Member of the Kach Movement" (in Hebrew). Arutz Sheva. Archived from the original on 22 January 2011. Retrieved 29 March 2009.
- "The Kach Movement – Background". Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 3 March 1994.[dead link]
- Richards, Charles (14 March 1994). "Anti-Arab Kach group outlawed in Israel: Belated response to Hebron massacre is likely to help get peace negotiations going again". The Independent. London. Retrieved 1 April 2009.
- "Ex-bouncer Avigdor Lieberman muscles his way into Israeli politics". The Times.(subscription required)
- "Avigdor Lieberman". Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- "Official Website" (in Russian). Avigdor Lieberman. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Greg Myre (4 June 2004). "Sharon Is Expected to Fire 2 From Cabinet Before Gaza Vote". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Myre, Greg (7 December 2006). "Israeli Official Discusses Iran And His Controversial Agenda". The New York Times. p. A10. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Tovah Lazaroff. "Lieberman pushes Israel to join EU". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Rory McCarthy (16 March 2009). "Hardliner Avigdor Lieberman set to become Israel's foreign minister". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- "Introducing: the New Face of Yisrael Beiteinu" (in Hebrew). Israel News 2. Archived from the original on 2 June 2013.
- Nathan Guttman (27 March 2009). "Washington Braces To Greet Lieberman as Foreign Minister". The Jewish Daily Forward. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Leshem, Elie. "Netanyahu, Liberman announce they'll run joint list for Knesset". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 27 October 2012.
- Herb Keinon (1 April 2009). "Lieberman: Annapolis doesn't obligate us". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Daniel Pipes (2 April 2009). "Avigdor Lieberman's Brilliant Debut". FrontPageMagazine.com. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Yoav Yitzhak (1 April 2009). שר החוץ הנכנס כבר מבעיר את האש: להסכם אנאפוליס אין תוקף מחייב [Incoming foreign minister has already burning fire: Annapolis has no binding validity] (in Hebrew). News1. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- David Bedein (9 April 2009). "Israeli FM: Don't Stand Over Us With A Stopwatch". Columbus, Georgia: The Bulletin.[dead link]
- "Top Israeli diplomat: Don't rush us back to peace talks". The Miami Herald. 11 April 2009.[dead link]
- "Lieberman slams Obama's Iran policy". The Jerusalem Post. 26 June 2009. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Dion Nissenbaum (16 April 2009). "Plan for Palestinian state is 'dead end,' Israel tells U.S.". McClatchy Newspapers. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Barak Ravid (20 April 2009). "Israel recruits gay community in PR campaign against Iran". Haaretz. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- "German official: Lieberman comments 'far from encouraging'". Haaretz. Deutsche Presse-Agentur. 7 May 2009. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- שר החוץ, אביגדור ליברמן, באיטליה: מחויבים לתהליך השלום [Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman: We are committed to the Peace Process]. Haaretz (in Hebrew). Retrieved 8 May 2009.
- Barak Ravid (6 May 2009). "Lieberman: 'Peace industry' nothing but a waste of money". Haaretz. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Ho, Spencer. "Drifting from US, Liberman calls to diversify foreign policy". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
- Sofer, Roni (7 May 2009). "Lieberman will be responsible for the strategic dialogue with the U.S." (in Hebrew). Ynet. Archived from the original on 10 May 2009. Retrieved 13 May 2009.
- Dombey, Daniel (18 June 2009). "Clinton clashes with Israelis over settlers". Financial Times. Retrieved 18 June 2009.
- Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu (18 June 2009). "Clinton vs. Lieberman in Bare Knuckles Fight over Yesha". Arutz Sheva. Archived from the original on 19 June 2009. Retrieved 18 June 2009.
- Roni Sofer (1 September 2009). "Lieberman seeks bolstered ties with Africa". Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- on YouTube
- New defense minister recognizes bereaved same-sex families Lilach Shoval, Thursday June 2, 2016, Israel Hayom
- Mozgovaya, Natasha (1 March 2009). "Lieberman: I'm ready to quit my settlement home for peace". Haaretz. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Lenoir, Francois (Apr 13, 2011). "Factbox: Facts about Israel's Avigdor Lieberman". Reuters.
- Либерман сообщил Путину: Пушкин является потомком эфиопских евреев время публикации: 2 июня 2009 г., 19:20
- Yitzhak Benhorin (10 December 2006). "Lieberman: The unfaithful cannot be citizens". Ynetnews. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Lily Galili (30 May 2004). "Lieberman presents to Russia plan to expel 'disloyal' Arabs". Haaretz. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Zvi Zrahiya (5 June 2004). "Opposition: Defense budget not approved due to gov't crisis". Haaretz. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Chris McGreal (5 June 2004). "Sharon sacks hardliners who stand in his way". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Hoffman, Gil (3 March 2009). "Lieberman 'changes mind' on PA state". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Benhorin, Yitzhak (26 February 2009). "Lieberman: I back creation of Palestinian state". Ynetnews. Archived from the original on 2 March 2009. Retrieved 4 March 2009.
- "Lieberman: I support creation of viable Palestinian state". Haaretz. 27 February 2009. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- "Lieberman: Several Israeli Arab towns must be made part of Palestine under peace deal". Haaretz. 5 January 2014. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
- "Avigdor Lieberman: Israel should press to join NATO, EU". Haaretz. 1 January 2007. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Barak Ravid; Amos Harel; Zvi Zrahiya; Jonathan Lis (2 November 2011). "Netanyahu trying to persuade cabinet to support attack on Iran". Haaretz. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Prusher, Ilene R. (12 February 2009). "Key to who will govern Israel: Avigdor Lieberman". The Christian Science Monitor. Archived from the original on 8 March 2009. Retrieved 11 April 2009.
- "Party Platform on State and Religion" (in Hebrew). Yisrael Beiteinu. 1 January 2009. Archived from the original on 18 April 2009. Retrieved 12 April 2009.
- Williams, Dan (18 January 2015). "Israel lobbies foreign powers to cut ICC funding". www.reuters.com. Reuters. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
- "Orly Levy, Israel's Rising Right-Wing Candidate". Newsweek. 16 February 2009. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
- de Quetteville, Harry (5 November 2006). "Jews and Arabs can never live together, says Israel's vice PM". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
- Rory McCarthy (5 February 2009). "Hardliner Avigdor Lieberman rises to third in Israeli polls". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
- Aron Heller (29 October 2008). "Israel apologizes for lawmaker's Mubarak comments". Fox News. Associated Press. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
- "Middle East | Far-right joins Israel coalition". BBC News. 30 October 2006. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
- Blair, David (5 February 2009). "Far-Right Israeli party enjoys surge in polls to become election kingmaker". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
- Casey, Vinny (15 October 2003). "Who's who: Israeli groups". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
- Toni O'Loughlin (27 December 2008). "Israeli far right gains ground as Gaza rockets fuel tension | World news". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
- Haviv Rettig Gur; Abe Selig. "'Lieberman isn't racist, Hamas is'". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- "27Not%20racist,%20stigmatized%20%2". Haaretz. 24 December 2006. Retrieved 25 April 2010.[dead link]
- Abe Selig. "Is Avigdor Lieberman a racist? No, but...". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Weissman, Lilach (13 February 2014). "62% see Liberman as national leader". Globes. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
- Anshel Pfeffer (13 February 2014). "A new Jewish state". Haaretz. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Aaron Sebag. "Israel's transition to new leadership – New Europe". Neurope.eu. Archived from the original on 21 July 2009. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
- Philippa Runner. "EU urges Israel to stick to peace process". EUobserver. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Francisco Gil-White (12 April 2006). "On the Orwellian use of the terms 'left' and 'right,' and on the dangers therein to Israeli politics". Historical and Investigative Research. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Jennie Rothenberg Gritz (14 March 2007). "Israel Is Our Home". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on 13 May 2008.
- "Lieberman calls Arab MKs who meet with Hamas 'collaborators'". The Jerusalem Post. 4 May 2006. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Aviram Zino (2 November 2006). "Prosecution: Lieberman's anti-Arab remarks kosher". Ynetnews. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Donald Macintyre (31 October 2006). "Labour minister quits over Lieberman's role". The Independent. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- "Lieberman: Jerusalem attack is product of Arab MK incitement". Haaretz. 3 August 2008. Archived from the original on 15 February 2009.
- Shahar Ilan. "Shahar Ilan: Lieberman to Arab MKs: One day we will 'take care of you'". Haaretz. Archived from the original on 1 January 2009.
- "Avigdor Lieberman". Institute for Middle East Understanding. 29 September 2008. Archived from the original on 14 November 2009.
- Andrew England; Heba Saleh; Tobias Buck (17 March 2009). "Arab alarm over role for Lieberman". Financial Times. Retrieved 22 September 2014. (subscription required (. ))
- Dina Kraft (22 March 2009). "Egypt threatens to ignore new Israeli foreign minister". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- פגישת פסגה מדינית: רה"מ אולמרט ייפגש עם הנשיא מובארק במצרים [State summit: PM Olmert will meet with President Mubarak in Egypt]. Globes (in Hebrew). Retrieved 25 April 2010.
- "Lieberman: Israel acting like battered wife with Egypt". Ynetnews. 11 January 2008. Retrieved 12 April 2009.
- "'no Egyptian Ultimatum On Lieberman'". Turkish Weekly. 22 March 2009. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Herb Keinon (7 April 2009). "Mubarak invites Netanyahu for talks". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- "Egypt MP: Lieberman not welcome in Cairo unless he apologizes". Haaretz. 24 April 2014. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- "Egypt mending fences with Lieberman". ICEJ News. 23 April 2009. Retrieved 24 June 2010.
- Somfalvi, Attila (21 August 2012). "Lieberman: Don't let Egypt get away with violations". Ynetnews. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
- "Israel FM Says No Changes to Egypt Peace Deal". ABC News. 23 September 2012.[dead link]
- Fyler, Boaz; Magnezi, Aviel (28 August 2012). "Lieberman invites Morsi to visit Israel". Ynetnews. Retrieved 28 August 2012.
- Philip Jacobson (5 February 2009). "Israel's Rising Star". The First Post. Archived from the original on 10 February 2009.
- Smadar Shmueli (4 March 2009). הימין: לפתוח במלחמה; השמאל: לצאת מהשטחים [The Right: Open War; The Left: to Leave the Occupied Territories] (in Hebrew). Ynet. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Paul Peachey (7 March 2002). "We risk charges of war crimes, Peres tells Cabinet". The Independent. Archived from the original on 30 January 2009.
- Chris McGreal (25 July 2003). "Palestinian PM's leadership at stake when he pleads with Bush to help free detainees". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Abu Toameh, Khaled (21 July 2003). "PA prepares own dossier on 'incitement'". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 22 September 2014. (subscription required (. ))
- Chazan, Guy (30 July 2003). "Hawkish Palestinian TV Starts to Incubate Doves.". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 22 September 2014.(subscription required)
- "ליברמן הציע להטביע את האסירים הפלסטינים בים" [Lieberman offered to drown the Palestinian prisoners at sea]. Walla!. 6 July 2003. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- On Galei Tzahal it was reported that Lieberman said at the cabinet meeting that as Minister of Transport he's willing to provide buses to take them at sea and drown them there.
Hebrew: בגלי צה"ל דווח שליברמן אמר בישיבת הממשלה שכשר התחבורה הוא מוכן לספק אוטובוסים לאסירים שיקחו אותם לים ולהטביע אותם שם.
- Gideon Alon (8 July 2006). "Lieberman blasted for suggesting drowning Palestinian prisoners". Haaretz. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- "Lieberman: Do to Hamas what the US did to Japan". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- "Israeli politician calls for nuclear strike on Gaza". Ma'an News Agency. 13 January 2009. Archived from the original on 22 December 2010.
- Gordon, Neve (25 March 2009). "Avigdor Lieberman, Israel's shame". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Sullivan, Andrew (17 March 2009). "Netanyahu's Love Bombs To America". The Atlantic. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Robert Tait (26 October 2009). "'Iran is our friend,' says Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
- Ravid, Barak. "Lieberman: Several Israeli Arab towns must be made part of Palestine under peace deal". Haaretz.com. Retrieved 26 February 2015.
-  News 2 | 2 News | Published 16:58 03.08.15
- 'Avigdor Liberman Suggests 'Beheading' Israeli-Arabs Who Oppose Jewish State,' The Forward March 09, 2015.
- Lieberman presents plans for population exchange at UN By Barak Ravid | Sep. 28, 2010
- Ravid, Barak (20 November 2011). "Lieberman, Mossad chief meet in bid to end row". Haaretz. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Barak Ravid (7 December 2011). "Lieberman: Russia elections were fair and democratic". Haaretz. Reuters. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- "Vladimir Putin and the holy land". The Economist. 16 March 2013. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- "Putin lauds expat Lieberman's 'brilliant political career' in Israel". Associated Press. 4 December 2009. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- David Remnick (28 October 2012). "Netanyahu's Dark Choice". Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- The dubious ties between Lieberman's man and Moscow
- Uri Blau (7 April 2014). "Who's the boss?". Haaretz. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Uri Blau; Alex Levac (6 March 2009). הקופה הקטנה והתסריט שכתב יו"ר ישראל ביתנו אביגדור ליברמן [The Small Fund and the Screenplay Written by Israel Beitenu Leader Avigdor Lieberman]. Haaretz (in Hebrew). Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Hillel Fendel (3 January 2006). "Police Say There's Evidence Linking Sharon to $3 Million Bribe". Arutz Sheva. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Ezra HaLevi (24 January 2008). "Exposé Links Olmert, Lieberman and Sharon to Jericho Casino". Arutz Sheva. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- "Israeli FM questioned over graft". Al Jazeera. 2 April 2009. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Tomer Zarchin (24 May 2010). "Israel Police: Indict Avigdor Lieberman for breach of trust". Haaretz. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Glickman, Aviad (13 April 2011). "Lieberman to face criminal indictment". Ynetnews. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
- Bar-Zohar, Ophir (3 January 2012). "Lieberman indictment hearing set for January 17". Haaretz. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- "Israel's foreign minister to be charged with breach of trust, fraud". CNN. 13 December 2012. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Jodi Rudoren (14 December 2012). "Hard-Line Israeli Foreign Minister Resigns". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Revital Hovel; Jonathan Lis (6 November 2013). "Lieberman acquittal paves way for return to Foreign Ministry". Haaretz. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- ליברמן הורשע בבית המשפט בעיסקת טיעון בתקיפת קטין ואיומים [Lieberman was convicted in court in a plea bargain with assaulting a minor and threats]. Globes (in Hebrew). 24 September 2001. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
- "Court Record (Hebrew)". Info1.court.gov.il. 17 December 1999. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Avigdor Lieberman.|
- Avigdor Lieberman on the Knesset website
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Avigdor Lieberman collected news and commentary at Ha'aretz
- Avigdor Lieberman collected news and commentary at The Jerusalem Post
- "Avigdor Lieberman collected news and commentary". The New York Times.
- Works by or about Avigdor Lieberman in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- 'I'm a Realist' Joshua Hammer essay on Lieberman from The New York Review of Books
- Official website of Yisrael Beiteinu
- Lieberman, Avigdor (25 February 2009). "The Case For 'Responsible Citizenship' in Israel". The Jewish Week. Archived from the original on 28 February 2009. Retrieved 4 March 2009.
- Weymouth, Lally (1 March 2009). "A Conversation With Avigdor Lieberman". The Washington Post. ISSN 0740-5421. Retrieved 1 March 2009.
- Horovitz, David; Amir Mizroch (28 April 2009). "The world according to Lieberman". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
|Party political offices|
|New office||Leader of Yisrael Beiteinu