The Israeli government on Thursday announced that Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon of the Yisrael Beytenu party would continue to serve in his post, despite the resignation on Tuesday of foreign minister Avigdor Liberman, the head of his party.
Earlier this month, Liberman unexpectedly announced that he was dropping Ayalon from the party list for the upcoming elections to be held on January 22. No official explanation for the decision was forthcoming, although speculation abounded in the wake of the move.
On Sunday, Liberman submitted his resignation from Netanyahu’s cabinet, just days after Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein announced plans to indict the embattled foreign minister on charges of fraud and breach of trust.
With Liberman’s resignation, Netanyahu announced that he would be taking over the responsibility of the foreign ministry until a new minister is appointed after the elections, and it was anticipated that Ayalon would step down as well.
But Netanyahu asked Ayalon to remain deputy minister, and Ayalon agreed to “continue to serve in the Foreign Ministry and to maintain Israel’s vital interests.”