Gamble pays off for Lieberman, who becomes Israeli kingmaker

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Gamble pays off for Lieberman, who becomes Israeli kingmakerThe veteran Israeli politician Avigdor Lieberman took the political gamble of his life when he spurned his mentor, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and forced an unprecedented repeat election. With neither Netanyahu’s Likud nor former military chief Benny Gantz’s centrist Blue and White party forecast to secure a majority in the 120-seat parliament without his support, Lieberman has emerged as the election’s true winner — the one most likely to dictate the makeup of the next government. Lieberman passed up the post of defense minister in Netanyahu’s government following April’s election and refused to join the new coalition because of what he said was the excessive influence it granted to ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties.