Liberman switches Knesset seats to avoid Arab-Israeli lawmaker

MKs Avigdor Liberman (left) and Ayman Odeh in the Knesset, Nov. 19, 2018. (Ayman Odeh/Twitter)

MKs Avigdor Liberman (left) and Ayman Odeh in the Knesset, Nov. 19, 2018. (Ayman Odeh/Twitter)

(JTA) – Avigdor Liberman received permission to change his Knesset seat with another member of his party so he would not have to sit next to an Arab-Israeli lawmaker.

Liberman, head of the Yisrael Beiteinu party, stepped down last week as defence minister and moved his party into the opposition, requiring them to move their block of seats in the Knesset plenum.

He found himself sitting next to the head of the Arab Joint List, Ayman Odeh, who Liberman has in the past called a terrorist and said that he and his party “belong in prison rather than the Knesset.” Liberman swapped seats with former immigration and absorption minister Sofa Landver on Wednesday.

Odeh on Wednesday tweeted: “The other day, he was defence minister and today he’s playing musical chairs because he can’t sit next to an Arab.”

On Monday Odeh had tweeted a selfie of the men sitting next to each other in the plenum, in which the two lawmakers look pretty grim. Odeh wrote: “I am considering resigning from the opposition.”

On Wednesday at the Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference, Liberman said of the switch: “I think that today I have a better neighbour. It’s something new for me to come to the Knesset to vote, to take part in discussions, but it’s also a nice experience, and it’s good not to see Ayman Odeh on my left,” Liberman said.

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