But which spoils? It seems highly likely that Bibi Netanyahu will form a rightist governing coailtion with Avigdor Lieberman as his junior partner. That should entitle him to a post as deputy prime minister along with either the foreign, defense or interior ministry portfolios. However, there are a few problems that raise their ugly heads: Lieberman has no military expertise to speak of and so cannot realistically become defense minister (note: try to avoid Amir Peretz fiasco). Since he and his family are under investigation for money-laundering he can’t reasonably oversee the ministries that would be investigating him. Giving him the foreign ministry would prove a slap in the face to the world community which wants to have nothing to do with his racist, proto-fascist views.
That leaves Finance as a reasonably senior post and he has expressed interest in it (though what experience or special knowledge he brings to it is news to me–unless you count possible corruption charges as evidence of finance experience). Haaretz reveals that the money-laundering charges involve claims of tax fraud:
M.L.-1 [is] a business consulting firm set up by Michal Lieberman in 2004, when she was 21 years old. She was listed as the sole shareholder, but one of the company’s two official addresses was her father’s house in the West Bank settlement of Nokdim.
…The company received NIS 11 million from anonymous overseas sources in exchange for “business consulting.” Avigdor Lieberman received a salary of over NIS 2.5 million from M.L.-1 during 2004-06, when he was not serving in the cabinet or Knesset, and was thus legally entitled to do so. But the company itself remained active even after Lieberman rejoined the Knesset in March 2006.
The police suspect Lieberman of money laundering, fraud and breach of trust. However, the investigation was delayed for over a year…because of lawsuits filed by Lieberman…claiming that various documents the police wanted to examine were protected by attorney-client privilege. Only after the courts finally rejected these suits were police able to begin studying the documents.
Once again, Lieberman would be excluded since Finance for the same reason he’s excluded from the Interior post. That doesn’t leave much to offer him that wouldn’t look like an insult to the major electoral victory he won.
I’m so delighted to have Netanyahu face such dilemmas. When you sleep with rats, you will wake up with fleas. So to all Lieberman’s other ideological peccadilloes listed above, we may soon be able to add corrupt politician with hand in till. Israel has quite a bit of experience with this considering the current prime minister resigned after three separate corruption investigations hounded him from office.
In U.S. politics, we usually elect politicians we believe are clean only to find they’re dirty or become dirty AFTER they take office. In Israel, they elect politicians suspected of being dirty even before they take office. Nice work if you can get it. Lieberman looks like he will.