Danny Ayalon (Photo: Miriam Alster)
The bombshell news that the deputy foreign minister, Danny Ayalon, has been left out of Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beteynu party list, in anticipation of the January 2013 elections in Israel, has come as a shock to supporters of the cause of 'justice for Jewish refugees from Arab countries'.
More than any other figure, Danny Ayalon, whose father was a Jewish refugee from Algeria, has been credited with raising awareness of the issue. Ayalon was the driving force behind newspaper articles, speeches, videos, the first ever conference in Jerusalem, and a meeting at the UN in New York in September 2012. The Jewish refugee issue has thrown the Arab press and media into disarray.
The Jerusalem Post reports: "Liberman gave no explanation as to why he left Ayalon off the list and he did not mention him in a lengthy speech at a Yisrael Beytenu event in Jerusalem....
"But Ayalon’s departure is thought to be tied to a January 2010 incident in which he was caught on camera instructing a cameraman filming a meeting with the Turkish ambassador, to notice that he had placed him on a low chair, and refused to shake the envoy’s hand in an effort to scold him."
On Facebook Danny Ayalon wrote that he would serve in his post until his term ends, and then in a different role.
“Today I received a message from Liberman that I will be not be on the Yisrael Beytenu list for the next Knesset,” he wrote. “Over the past four years, I had the honor of serving as Israel’s deputy foreign minister at a complex and challenging time. Whichever path I choose, I will continue to work for a strengthened and more prosperous Israel, whether it is in the diplomatic, security or economic spheres.”
However, Stan Urman, chief executive of Justice for Jews from Arab Countries, is confident that the cause of Jewish refugees will not bow out with Ayalon. "Avigdor Lieberman, in numerous meetings, and in public as well, has enunciated his strong support for our cause," he says.