Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Fast Forward

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman Resigns Over Gaza Ceasefire

JERUSALEM  (JTA) — Avigdor Liberman resigned as defense minister of Israel on Wednesday over a cease-fire with Palestinian terrorist groups — a move that could trigger new elections.

Liberman said the decision to agree to a cease-fire, which followed 25 hours of bombings into southern Israel from Gaza, was “a capitulation to terror.” He announced his resignation at an early afternoon news conference after first informing his Yisrael Beiteinu party, which he heads.

He said the five members of his party will quit the ruling government coalition and called for new elections to be held as soon as possible.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly will assume the defense minister’s portfolio. Netanyahu also holds the foreign minister portfolio.

With Yisrael Beiteinu exiting the government, the coalition led by Netanyahu still has the narrowest of majorities in the 120-member Knesset with 61 seats.

Meanwhile, the Jewish Home party, which has eight seats in the government, said it will leave the government if its leader, Naftali Bennett, is not named to replace Liberman. Bennett now serves as education minister and heads the Diaspora portfolio.

Both Liberman and Bennett were opposed to the cease-fire struck on Tuesday night.

“What happened yesterday with the cease-fire with Hamas was a capitulation to terror,” Liberman said in announcing his resignation. “There is no other definition for it, no other significance. We are buying short-term calm for long-term harm to security.”

Liberman also said he had not agreed to allow fuel from Qatar and $15 million in cash to enter the Gaza Strip, arguing that it could be used to fund terrorism.

He has previously called for dealing Hamas “a severe blow” in order to restore quiet to Israel’s southern border.

Hamas in a statement following Liberman’s announcement called his resignation “recognition of (Israel’s) defeat at the hands of the Palestinian resistance” and a “victory for Gaza” against the occupation.

Engage

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.