Former deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon, who was conspicuously left off of Yisrael Beytenu’s Knesset list, lambasted his former boss and party chief Avigdor Liberman on Saturday, claiming he was unfit for the post of Israel’s top diplomat.
Liberman, according to Ayalon, “failed to gain the confidence of the international community and therefore should not be foreign minister. I supported him because it was part of my job,” he explained.
Ayalon made the comments at a cultural event near Kfar Saba in central Israel.
He also suggested that his former boss try his hand at running the Finance Ministry.
“If after four years in office, this is the outcome, he should try the Treasury portfolio,” said Ayalon, who is expected to testify at Liberman’s upcoming trial on breach of trust and fraud charges.
Touching upon his omission from his party’s slate of candidates for the 19th Knesset, Ayalon said, “I try to think about it and can find no practical reason for it.”
The former deputy also spoke of the so-called ambassador affair, for which Liberman has been indicted, saying that he believed the appointment of Ze’ev Ben Aryeh as ambassador to Latvia was proper. However, Ayalon claimed that he was able to thwart several improper appointments that the former foreign minister attempted to push through.
Ayalon told attendees that he has been completely forthcoming with police and that he would present all the information he has to the court.
A three-judge panel at Jerusalem’s Magistrate’s Court will begin hearing evidence in the case against Liberman on February 17.
Liberman has indicated that he wants to return to the Foreign Ministry once he has proved his innocence in the court case, and said last week that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be holding the ministry on his party’s behalf in the new government until then. He has also said Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, a potential coalition partner and possible foreign minister, should not and will not be given the post.
Saturday’s comments came a week after Ayalon lambasted Liberman for undiplomatic behavior as foreign minister that had rendered him a “leper” in the international community. Liberman dismissed that criticism, saying that Ayalon was only attacking him because he had rightly booted Ayalon off the Yisrael Beytenu Knesset slate, and asserting that Ayalon had lost the trust of previous foreign ministers too.