Avigdor Lieberman in his own words


Writing in The Jewish Week, Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman responds to those who call him a bigot and an ultra-nationalist:

I stand at the head of the most diverse political party in the Knesset. Four out of our first 10 Knesset members are women. Three out of our first 10 have a physical disability. Hamad Amer is a pillar of the Druze community. Anastassia Michaeli is the first convert to enter the Knesset. And David Rotem is a religious Zionist and obviously sees Yisrael Beiteinu as supportive of religious Jews. I find it a bit rich to be called a bigot.

Moreover, Yisrael Beiteinu has no objection to the nonviolent expression of opinion. It is violent speech that forms a clear and present danger that we refuse to tolerate. I am thinking of the Arab mayor of the Israeli town of Sakhnin who said during Cast Lead, “I call from here to the people in Gaza and say: Don’t be afraid, don’t give up, block them with your blood in order to build the state of Palestine, whose capital is Jerusalem.  … Long live Palestine, whose capital is Jerusalem, and long live the shahids [martyrs].”

Another label that has been thrust in my direction is “far right” or “ultra-nationalist.” I want the State of Israel to remain a Zionist, Jewish and democratic state. There is nothing “far” or “ultra” about those ideals. I also advocate the creation of a viable Palestinian state.

I welcome the contribution of minorities to Israel’s flourishing. We do not ask Israeli Arabs to share in the Zionist dream. We are asking them to accept that Israel is a Jewish state — the only one in the world. It is also the only democracy in the Middle East as well as the most advanced in terms of technology, health care and education. If those who strive to topple the state with terror and violence would instead focus on improving daily life, education, infrastructure, and health care, we could all move on to better lives for everyone. 

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