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Meretz leader petitions court to force Lieberman resignation

JTA

December 14, 2012 | 9:24 am

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman in Tel Aviv on Dec. 13. Photo by Amir Cohen/Reuters

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman in Tel Aviv on Dec. 13. Photo by Amir Cohen/Reuters

The leader of Israel's Meretz Party petitioned the country’s Supreme Court to order the resignation of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman following his indictment on fraud.

Liberman “seriously undermines the confidence of the public and his voters” by refusing to resign after his indictment, the chairwoman of the left-wing Meretz party, Zahava Gal-On, wrote in her petition on Dec. 13, according to Israel’s Army Radio.

A series of investigations, some more than 12 years old, culminated this week in the closing of some cases and Liberman's indictment on fraud and breach of trust.

In the Dec. 13 indictment, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein alleged Liberman advanced former ambassador to Belarus Ze'ev Ben Aryeh's position in the Foreign Ministry in exchange for information about an investigation against Lieberman being conducted in Belarus. Ben Aryeh has acknowledged passing documents onto Lieberman in 2008.

“These charges against a presiding official undercut the basic elements of standards of government,” Gal-On wrote.

Other opposition figures have also called on Liberman to step down.

Lieberman previously had committed to resigning from his Knesset position if he was indicted on the main case, which involved allegations of money laundering and obstruction of justice, but never mentioned the Ben Aryeh case. It is unclear if he will be required to resign if he is convicted.

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