MK, Yisrael Beitenu Party Leader
Born in Kishinev, in the former USSR, Avigdor Lieberman came on Aliyah in 1978, served in the IDF and completed a B.A. in Social Sciences at the Hebrew University.
His professional life has been entirely in sphere of public activity, beginning with student and Trade Unionism, public administration; he also founded the Zionist Forum for Soviet Jewry. He began his political life in the Likud, becoming Party Director and later Director of the Israel Prime Minister's Office for Prime Minister Netanyahu (1996).
Lieberman was first elected to the Knesset in the 1999 elections after founding his own right-wing nationalist party, Yisrael Beitenu (later, temporarily allied with Ichud Leumi); he resigned from the 16th Knesset, although remaining a government Minister as a non-MK, in his campaign to promote a bill whereby Ministers would be compelled resign their Knesset seats (the "Norwegian law") - although the bill was not passed. Yisrael Beitenu was returned to the 17th Knesset with greatly increased representation, enjoying great popularity among much of the Russian-speaking electorate and right-wing, non-religious Israelis.
Lieberman's has served on the Knesset Committee for Foreign Affairs and Defense, and for various periods as Minister for: National Infrastructure; Transportation; and in the 17th Knesset, Strategic Affairs. Lieberman was dismissed from the Sharon government and cabinet in 2004 (16th Knesset) for opposition to the Disengagement Plan; he resigned from the Olmert government coalition in early 2008 in protest at the resumption of negotiations with the Palestinians, after serving as Minister for Strategic Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister, reducing its parliamentary majority. In both cases, further political instability ensued: following various crises situations, both governments lost their majority and early elections were called.
Lieberman holds hard-line views on the retention of settlements, the demographic problem in Israel, and the strategic dangers posed by a nuclearizing Iran; he is criticized for his highly controversial platforms, including his plan for territorial exchange and population transfers.