Israeli politician who suggested beheading Arabs offered job as defence minister

By News sites

The man reportedly offered the role of Israeli Defence Minister has called for “disloyal” Arab citizens of Israel to be beheaded.

Avigdor Lieberman, who has previously served as Foreign Minister between 2009 and 2012 and 2013 to 2015,  leads the ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu [Israel is Our Home] party and has been described by some academics as a “far-right extremist”.

The controversial cabinet move follows the resignation of his predecessor, Moshe Yaalon, who said he “no longer had faith” in Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Lieberman, who lives in an illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank, said of Arabs in Israel in a 2015 election campaign speech: “Those who are with us deserve everything. Those against us, it cannot be helped, we must lift up an axe and behead them – otherwise we will not survive here.”

Israel’s controversial ministers

Yaalon, 65, as defence minister oversaw the 51-day Israeli war on Gaza in 2014, in which more than 2,000 Palestinians, a quarter of whom were children, were killed.

Lieberman, 57, is one of the country’s most polarising politicians. Over three decades, he has at times been Netanyahu’s closest ally and other times a fierce rival.

He has also called for the annexation of illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and for the transfer of Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Avigdor Lieberman has previously slammed Netanyahu’s security and foreign policies, saying Israel should have allowed a hunger-striking detainee to die in prison.

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