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Ayalon out for next Knesset

JTA

December 4, 2012 | 10:40 am

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon. Photo by Kathrin Möbius

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon. Photo by Kathrin Möbius

In a surprise move, Yisrael Beiteinu head Avigdor Liberman announced that former Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Danny Ayalon, will not be included on the party's Knesset list.

Ayalon is currently serving under Liberman as deputy foreign minister.

The move announced Tuesday rocked Israel's political arena since Ayalon and Liberman were believed to have a close relationship.

Ayalon is not the first Yisrael Beiteinu lawmaker to get the boot in recent days. Earlier on Tuesday, Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov announced that he would not run in the Jan. 22 Knesset elections. He denied that he had been pushed out of the party by Liberman and called for the new government to be "a secular government without the black politics of the haredi parties."

On Monday, Yisrael Beiteinu lawmaker Anastassia Michaeli announced that she would not run in the upcoming elections, citing "personal reasons." The announcement came after Liberman informed her that she would have a low spot on the list.

Ayalon served as Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. from July 2002 through November 2006.  He was elected to the 18th Knesset in February 2009 on the Yisrael Beiteinu list and in April 2009 was appointed Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.

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