The recently resigned Israeli defense minister, racist MK Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu), who was required to move from the cabinet benches in the Knesset and sit among the opposition, swapped seats on Wednesday, November 23, with a member of his own faction, to avoid having to sit next to the Arab leader of the Joint List, MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash).
Lieberman, who chairs the Yisrael Beytenu party, was initially given the seat next to the leader of the Hadash MK Odeh. Fascist Liberman has in the past labeled Odeh “a terrorist” who belongs in jail along with the rest of the Joint List MKs.
On Wednesday, MKs suddenly noticed that Lieberman’s fellow faction member MK Sofa Landver, former immigration and absorption minister, had moved one seat over to sit next to Odeh, while Lieberman took her place at the end of the row. Israeli media reports said that Lieberman had asked the Knesset administration to change his seat.
In response, Odeh tweeted, “The other day, he was defense minister and today he’s playing musical chairs because he can’t sit next to an Arab.” Labor MK Stav Shaffir appealed to Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein to intervene and prevent Liberman from moving seats away from Odeh, saying it was blatantly racist. “I view with great severity the request of former defense minister Avigdor Lieberman, chairman of the Yisrael Beytenu party, to ask to move his seat so as not to sit next to MK Ayman Odeh, chairman of the Joint List, in the Knesset plenum. This demand stems from blatant and dangerous racism,” Shaffir wrote to Edelstein.
On Monday, November 19, Odeh posted a selfie to his Twitter feed showing himself seated grim-faced in the Knesset plenum next to Lieberman. “I am considering resigning from the opposition,” Odeh tweeted in a quip aimed at Lieberman whose own resignation from the cabinet last week inadvertently made them desk mates, however temporarily.