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Page last updated at 07:53 GMT, Monday, 7 January 2013

Israel's influential Mr Lieberman

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Israel's parliamentary election campaign seems to be proceeding along fairly predictable lines, with the current prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, likely to be re-elected as head of some sort of coalition government.

Mr Netanyahu has tied the fortunes of his Likud party to that of Yisrael Beteinu, the movement led by his foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman.

Mr Lieberman is a famously undiplomatic diplomat whose trenchant style and fierce defence of Israeli policy has won him few admirers in Europe and his precise level of influence is hard to pin down.

"I think he is dangerous," said Ilan Baruch, a former Israeli ambassador, "I think this man is prepared to take us to experiments in foreign and in defence policies that will put us in the way of danger."

The BBC's Middle East correspondent Kevin Connolly reports.


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