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Liberman unveils Yisrael Beytenu Knesset slate, leaving out several veteran MKs

Yisrael Beytenu chief Avigdor Liberman unveils his party’s slate of candidates for the upcoming national elections, leaving out a pair of veteran lawmakers who have served under him for over a decade.

At an event in the coastal city of Ashkelon, Liberman presents the top 20 names on his party’s list, but with Yisrael Beytenu currently polling at 4-5 seats, few of those are expected to enter the Knesset.

Liberman says he’s undeterred by the polls, however, saying the party will “get 8-9 mandates in the least.”

Noticeably absent from the list is the party’s current No. 2, Sofa Landver, who was immigration minister until November when Liberman resigned as defense minister and pulled Yisrael Beytenu out of the government.

Israel Beytenu party chief Avigdor Liberman with party members at a conference in Ashkelon on February 19, 2019. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Also left out is Robert Ilatov, who has also been a Yisrael Beytenu lawmaker since 2006. He announced yesterday he would not run in the April 9 election.

Among party members who have served in the past Knesset and placed in the top ten are Oded Forer, Yulia Malinovsky and Hamad Amar. Malinovsky was forced to resign in November following Liberman’s resignation and return to Knesset.

The most high profile newcomer is Yevgeny Suba, a Russian-language journalist, who is placed third on the list.

Among the other newcomers on the list, only former director of the Israel Diamond Exchange Eli Avidar is expected to enter the Knesset, based on current polling.

Much of Yisrael Beytenu’s electorate is made up of Russian-speaking immigrants from the former Soviet Union.

— Alexander Fulbright

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