Yisrael Beiteinu

Leader: Avigdor Liberman
Current Seats: 5
Recommended candidate for prime minister in the Twenty-First Knesset: Benjamin Netanyahu
Supports/Opposes Two-State Solution: Supports (Liberman plan)

Yisrael Beiteinu is a right-wing political party established in 1999 by Avigdor Liberman. Soviet-born Liberman launched the party as a special interests faction to represent the concern of Israel’s million-plus Russian-speaking immigrant community. Today, however, the party seeks a more national orientation, aiming to recruit supporters from outside the Russian Israeli community.

Yisrael Beiteinu officially supports a version of the two-state solution colloquially known as the Liberman Plan.

Although Yisrael Beiteinu had its worst finish ever in April, yielding only five seats, Prime Minister Netanyahu needed the party to join his coalition in order to have a majority in the Knesset. Avigdor Liberman ultimately took a firm stance on ultra-Orthodox conscription, prompting a confrontation with the United Torah Judaism and Shas parties. Netanyahu initially sided with Liberman before backing up the religious parties, while Liberman failed to join the government, despite having recommended Netanyahu as prime minister. Rather than allow another candidate to form the government, Prime Minister Netanyahu moved for new elections.

Avigdor Liberman resigned as defense minister in protest over a ceasefire with Hamas, bringing the coalition to a single-seat majority. Now he’s trying to market himself as a more authentically right-wing candidate than Netanyahu.

Liberman’s stand on secularism is in line with his previous positions, although he has sat in government with the ultra-Orthodox parties before. His refusal to bow to ultra-Orthodox demands appeals to a largely secular Russian-speaking base (immigrants from the former Soviet Union have often been mistreated by Israel’s religious authorities), as well as to the broader Israeli public. Current polling indicates that this could benefit Yisrael Beiteinu come election day. However, there is also an element of personal rivalry between Netanyahu and Liberman, who was once the prime minister’s subordinate within Likud. Because of this, Netanyahu has taken a particularly vindictive tack against his erstwhile colleague. Liberman, for his part, is calling for a national unity government including his party, Kachol Lavan, and Likud, and excluding leftist factions and the predominantly Arab Joint List. Such an eventuality would presumably exclude Netanyahu too, as Kachol Lavan has committed to not join a government in which the prime minister faces indictment. Liberman seeks the defense, immigration absorption, interior, and health ministries for his party.

Avigdor Liberman lives in the West Bank settlement of Nokdim. However, Yisrael Beiteinu officially supports a version of the two-state solution colloquially known as the Liberman Plan. Under the Liberman Plan, large settlements would be annexed to Israel, but predominantly Arab parts of Israel, such as the Triangle in northern Israel, would be ceded a future Palestinian state. This program is strongly opposed by Palestinian citizens of Israel, who do not want to surrender their citizenship. Liberman is hawkish on military affairs, often seeking to position himself as more militant than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Indeed, it was Liberman who brought the coalition to a single-seat majority when he resigned in protest over a ceasefire with Hamas in Gaza, criticizing Netanyahu’s government as soft on terror.

Party List:

1. Avigdor Lieberman

2. Oded Forer

3. Evgeny Sova

4. Eli Avidar

5. Yulia Malinovsky

6. Hamad Amar

7. Alex Kushnir

8. Mark Ifraimov

9. Limor Magen-Telem

10. Elina Bardach-Yalov

11. Shadi Halul

12. Alex Fridman

13. David Davidyan

14. Shahar Alon

15. Ilana Kartysh