Avigdor Lieberman (Kishinev, Moldova, 1958) has become a main actor in Israeli politics since his refusal to join Netanyahu’s coalition last April forced the organisation of a new ballot. The Moldovan-born politician emigrated to Israel in 1978, where he served in the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) and studied International Relations and Political Science in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Although he is said to have been related in the past with the Kach party (considered a terrorist organization by the EU, the United States and Canada), he was a member of Likud until he created the party Yisrael Beiteinu in 1999. In 2006 he entered the coalition government of Ehud Olmert as Minister of Strategic Affairs. Subsequently, he served as a Minister of Foreign Affairs under Netanyahu between 2009 and 2015 and the Minister of Defence between 2016 and 2018. His policies include opposing the conscription of ultra-orthodox in the armed forces and trading Arab towns in Israel to a future Palestinian state for territories with settlements in the West Bank. His main base of support are former Soviet Union Jewish and settlers. In recent months, he moved from being an ally of Netanyahu, to being a personal rival, calling for a secular unity government, instead of a right-wing one, thus resulting in increased public support for his party.
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