Lieberman Out

Israel's foreign minister resigns in wake of fraud indictment

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Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman resigned late Friday following his indictment on charges of fraud and breach of trust.

While earlier in the day, Lieberman had said that he did not intend to resign, he apparently changed his mind after public attacks from the Center-Left and a pledge to petition the Supreme Court to force him to quit.

The legalities of the issue were unclear, but there is a longstanding tradition in Israeli politics that ministers under indictment must resign until the case is resolved. Lieberman ultimately chose to follow this tradition.

Lieberman publicly states that "I know that I committed no crime," and criticized the state prosecutor for what he described as a form of legal harassment. Nonetheless, he stated that his resignation would allow him "to put an end to this matter swiftly and without delay and to clear my name completely."

Citing the upcoming elections, he stated that "the citizens of the State of Israel are entitled to go to the polling stations after this matter has already been resolved."

There is no law that bars Lieberman from running in the upcoming elections, and it is doubtful that he will remove his name from the Likud-Beiteinu list, on which he is second only to Prime Minister Netanyahu. Whether the case will be resolved before the vote, which Likud-Beiteinu is widely expected to win, is another question.

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