Yisrael Beitenu leader Avigdor Lieberman

Yisrael Beitenu leader Avigdor Lieberman

A right-wing Israeli politician who called for the beheading of “disloyal” Israeli Arabs has been described as “Jewish ISIS” by a fellow Member of the Knesset.

Yisrael Beitenu leader Avigdor Lieberman, a former foreign minister dogged by scandals and corruption allegations, was labelled a Jewish terrorist by MK Ahmad Tibi, who asked why there was no police investigation into Lieberman’s comments.

In a speech at Jenin University, Tibi accused authorities of double standards, saying that if an Arab MK had made a similar statement, police and the attorney general would have opened proceedings against them immediately.

It comes a week before Israel’s hotly-contested election, as parties position themselves ahead of the vote, in which Lieberman is competing with Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu, Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud and Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home. 

Barbs flew this week, as Kahlon accused the Likud of “abandoning the social path,” adding that Menahem Begin, its founder, would have been ashamed to see the current state of the party.

Elsewhere negotiations broke down between left-wing Meretz and the amalgamated Arab parties, known as Joint List. They had sought to combine surplus votes (i.e. votes that a party receives but that are not enough to qualify for a full Knesset seat). This would have given a centre-left bloc one or two more seats, which could make all the difference next week.