Friday 9 December 2016

Israeli defence minister steps down

Published 22/05/2016 | 17:11

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invited Avigdor Lieberman to join the Israeli government last week
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invited Avigdor Lieberman to join the Israeli government last week

Israel's defence minister has officially stepped down, capping a tumultuous week of politics that is expected to bring a hard-line novice into the sensitive post.

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During a short ceremony at Israel's military headquarters on Sunday, Moshe Yaalon greeted the country's military leaders before leaving the premises.

His departure clears the way for Avigdor Lieberman, leader of the hardline Yisrael Beitenu party, to join the government.

Over a three-decade political career, Lieberman has staked out tough positions toward the Palestinians and expressed cynicism towards internationally backed peace efforts.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invited Mr Lieberman to join his government last week. The move, meant to shore up a shaky governing majority, led Mr Yaalon, a former military chief, to quit in protest.

Mr Lieberman's appointment is expected to become official in the coming days.

Press Association

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