At the meeting of the Yisrael Beitenu faction of the 24th Knesset, the party chairman Avigdor Liberman set out his three main conditions for supporting a new government: changing the current prime minister; no Haredim in the coalition; and being appointed Minister of Finance.
Liberman wants to be Minister of Finance in order to rehabilitate the economy on behalf of a national unity government, if it can be formed. In terms of talks over the past few days with New Hope leader Gideon Saar and Yemina leader Naftali Bennett, there was no opposition to the idea of Liberman taking over at the Treasury. It seems that neither Yemina number two Ayelet Shaked or Labor party leader Meirav Michaeli, who have both recently spoken about becoming Minister of Finance, would object.
"Globes" understands that Liberman wants a biennial budget for 2021-2022 in order to stabilize the government's management of the economy. This is another demand that his potential coalition partners have no problem with. Liberman favors a free market economy alongside a welfare state, or as he has put it in the past, "We are in favor of a free economy with compassion."
Although he is a hawk on defense and security, in economic terms Liberman could sit comfortably in a coalition with Meretz and Labor, which demand government assistance for the disadvantaged sectors of Israeli society.
Among Liberman's policies, as he promised in the election campaign, are to raise pensions to 70% of the minimum wage. Such a bill has already been submitted by Yisrael Beitenu with the convening of the 24th Knesset. In addition, he wants to cut child allowances from the fifth child onwards - a move that would mainly effect Haredi and Bedouin society. If indeed Liberman was to become Minister of Finance and the Haredi parties go into opposition, he would have a real chance of implementing this policy.
Liberman's proponents claim he is the ideal man for the job. He has filled a wide range of important positions in the past and like former Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon he comes from 'below' as an immigrant, a resident of the social and geographical periphery with the social sensitivities required for the position.
Liberman has extensive relationships with the business sector and in particular with the Austrian Jewish billionaire Martin Schlaff. Liberman has been investigated in the past in corruption cases but the cases against him have been closed. If he is to be appointed Minister of Finance, he will need to bring all his business and economic interests out into the open.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on April 25, 2021
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