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Liberman: Incoming right-religious coalition will ‘form an ayatollah regime’

Carrie Keller-Lynn is a political and legal correspondent for The Times of Israel

Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman speaks during a faction meeting at the Knesset on July 4, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman speaks during a faction meeting at the Knesset on July 4, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

As he appears headed to the opposition benches, Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman says he is “really disturbed” by the incoming right-religious coalition, charging that its proposed judicial reform and the influence of religious leaders upon its politicians will lead to “an ayatollah regime.”

“They’re going to form an ayatollah regime, the blue and white version,” Liberman says at his Yisrael Beytenu party’s first faction meeting of the 25th Knesset.

“I am really disturbed by the forming coalition, an anti-Zionist coalition, for the first time since the formation of the state.”

He also warns that Religious Zionism leader Bezalel Smotrich will “hurt national security” if appointed defense minister, a post which the far-right politician is angling for.

“I don’t even want to think about the consequences if it happens,” says Liberman, himself a former defense minister.

Leading the second largest faction in the forming right-religious coalition, Smotrich is pushing for the senior defense or treasury post.

Part of Liberman’s opposition derives from foreign colleagues’ apparent hesitancy to work with Smotrich and his partner, Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben Gvir.

“Over the weekend, I spoke with some of my friends from Washington, and they unfortunately confirmed again. Not with Smotrich and not with Ben Gvir, there will be no cooperation,” Liberman says.

Ben Gvir is seeking the Public Security Ministry.

Liberman adds European law enforcement agency Interpol to the list of organizations he believes will boycott the two

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