By Throwing a Wrench in Coalition-Building, Avigdor Liberman Shows Disdain for the Will of the People

Since Benjamin Netanyahu’s deadline for forming a government passed last night, Israel is now headed to new elections. The impasse came about because the demands of the ultra-Orthodox parties and the right-wing-but-secular Yisrael Beytenu party were diametrically opposed—and Netanyahu needs both to join his government in order to get the requisite number of Knesset seats. Amnon Lord blames the intransigence of Yisrael Beytenu’s leader, Avigdor Liberman, who, he argues, has not sufficiently respected the fact that the voters overwhelmingly cast their ballots for right-wing parties and should therefore have a right-wing government:

Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu party lacks any democratic tradition and has no respect for election outcomes and no regard for the people’s verdict. In fact, we now live in a world in which all those forces who say they want to defend democracy are trying to undermine the will of the voters.

Liberman never called Netanyahu to congratulate him for his victory, as far as I know; he never asked Netanyahu how he could help him, and he could not care less about the fact Netanyahu was elected. . . . Yes, he said that Netanyahu’s main rival, the Blue and White party chairman Benny Gantz, was unfit to serve as prime minister, and said he would never serve in his government. . . . Liberman could have broken the impasse and joined forces with the prime minister so that they could deliver on what the people want them to do.

Truth be told, Liberman’s campaign pledges—ranging from civil marriage and the drafting of Ḥaredim [into the IDF] all the way to being tough on Gaza—didn’t quite help him win votes. The crisis he has generated . . . is perhaps his way of leveraging his poor electoral showing to the maximum.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Avigdor Liberman, Haredim, Israeli Election 2019, Israeli politics

Iran’s Program of Subversion and Propaganda in the Caucasus

In the past week, Iranian proxies and clients have attacked Israel from the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, and Yemen. Iran also has substantial military assets in Iraq and Syria—countries over which it exercises a great deal of control—which could launch significant attacks on Israel as well. Tehran, in addition, has stretched its influence northward into both Azerbaijan and Armenia. While Israel has diplomatic relations with both of these rival nations, its relationship with Baku is closer and involves significant military and security collaboration, some of which is directed against Iran. Alexander Grinberg writes:

Iran exploits ethnic and religious factors in both Armenia and Azerbaijan to further its interests. . . . In Armenia, Iran attempts to tarnish the legitimacy of the elected government and exploit the church’s nationalist position and tensions between it and the Armenian government; in Azerbaijan, the Iranian regime employs outright terrorist methods similar to its support for terrorist proxies in the Middle East [in order to] undermine the regime.

Huseyniyyun (Islamic Resistance Movement of Azerbaijan) is a terrorist militia made up of ethnic Azeris and designed to fight against Azerbaijan. It was established by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps . . . in the image of other pro-Iranian militias. . . . Currently, Huseyniyyun is not actively engaged in terrorist activities as Iran prefers more subtle methods of subversion. The organization serves as a mouthpiece of the Iranian regime on various Telegram channels in the Azeri language. The main impact of Huseyniyyun is that it helps spread Iranian propaganda in Azerbaijan.

The Iranian regime fears the end of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan because this would limit its options for disruption. Iranian outlets are replete with anti-Semitic paranoia against Azerbaijan, accusing the country of awarding its territory to Zionists and NATO. . . . Likewise, it is noteworthy that Armenian nationalists reiterate hideous anti-Semitic tropes that are identical to those spouted by the Iranians and Palestinians. Moreover, leading Iranian analysts have no qualms about openly praising [sympathetic] Armenian clergy together with terrorist Iran-funded Azeri movements for working toward Iranian goals.

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Azerbaijan, Iran, Israeli Security