Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman filed a complaint of criminal defamation Monday against a man who claimed the Yisrael Beytenu party leader once offered him $100,000 to kill a police superintendent.
Yossi Kamisa, in the past a Yisrael Beytenu party activist, said on social media last week that Liberman made the offer to him 20 years ago. Liberman has emphatically denied the claim and alleges it was orchestrated by opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu to smear him ahead of the November 1 elections.
The complaint stated that “Mr. Liberman did not approach the accused and offer him any amount in order to commit a murder.”
The claims are “defamation, absolute lies, which were published with the intention of causing political damage when the political establishment is in the midst of an election campaign,” according to the complaint that was filed by Liberman’s lawyers on his behalf.
On Sunday Liberman called Likud party leader Netanyahu “the scum of the human race who knows no red lines,” for allegedly setting up the pay-for-murder accusation.
He also sent a letter to Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara on the matter, asking her to immediately declare the claims unfounded, arguing that they were being made during an election campaign in an attempt to harm the Yisrael Beytenu party.
Baharav-Miara discussed the claims made by Kamisa at a meeting on Sunday. But according to legal experts, it is very unlikely she will order an investigation.
On Thursday, Kamisa made a series of allegations against Liberman on Twitter, including that he had made the supposed hit offer, that he had operated a Jericho casino whose proceedings benefited terror organizations, and that he’d had secret business dealings in Congo.
He also claimed Liberman’s ostensible connections to former attorney general Yehuda Weinstein had helped him evade the law in various criminal cases in which he was probed throughout his years in politics.
Police officials speaking to Channel 12 news declared the allegations “odd,” and Liberman, dismissing them, vowed to sue.
The alleged hit offer occurred some 20 years ago, well beyond the statute of limitations. Additionally, Kamisa does not seem to have any evidence supporting his claim.
Kamisa has identified himself as Liberman’s former assistant, though there is no evidence to support that either.
Liberman, a former defense and foreign minister in Netanyahu governments, has in recent years turned against his erstwhile ally and has vowed to never sit in a coalition led by Netanyahu again. His Yisrael Beytenu, which currently holds seven seats, was for years a vital component in Netanyahu’s bloc of right-wing and religious parties.
Without his support, Netanyahu has been unable to reach a majority of 61 seats in the 120-seat Knesset in each of the past four rounds of elections. Liberman’s refusal to join eventually led to Netanyahu being ousted from power after 12 years and the formation of the current government, which itself fell after little more than a year in power.