Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu says he “will approach all the Zionist parties to join a coalition headed by Likud,” but has indicated that Avigdor Lieberman, head of the surging Yisrael Beiteinu party, will not be the defense minister in his prospective coalition government.
Netanyahu had previously promised a “pivotal ministerial position” to Lieberman, though he has never made clear which position he has in mind, or even what he would consider “pivotal.” Placing Lieberman in any internal position, such as interior minister, would likely alienate the religious right. His bellicose, undiplomatic nature would seem to make him a poor choice for a foreign minister.
Lieberman’s party has soared in the polls since the Gaza war, riding a wave of anti-Arab sentiment with his promise to require them to take loyalty oaths. What was once an 11 seat party could surpass 20 seats in the election.