Israel Wants to Know: Why Did the Foreign Minister Flush the Toilet?

Four theories about the flushing noise during a radio interview of Avigdor Lieberman

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Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman--the leader of the country's right-wing Yisrael Beitenu (Israel Is Our Home) party--is currently facing corruption charges. But now some people also want him to answer questions about his bathroom behavior. During an interview with Reshet Bet radio on Monday morning, a surprising sound surfaced as Lieberman spoke about escalating tensions between Israel and militant groups in Gaza: an apparent toilet flush (judge for yourself, eight seconds into this clip).What explains the flush? In the absence of official comment from Lieberman, we're working with theories here, folks. Here are four:


Lieberman could have simply been multitasking from the bathroom, taking care of business both highly personal and political. Ynet points out that "Israeli officials often submit to interviews from their homes, especially when approached by morning shows on the radio." Nathan Jeffay at The Forward adds that the phantom flush may have been "a case of a politician with a busy schedule."

The alleged flush came shortly after Lieberman said, in reference to the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, "we know who we're dealing with." This leads the BBC to conclude that Lieberman's "antics on the toilet" amounted to "a novel way" of criticizing Hamas and a "distinctly undiplomatic intervention."


Lieberman, The Forward's Jeffay notes, feels persecuted by the Israeli media's coverage of the corruption charges against him. "Perhaps the flush was making a point about how he feels towards his interviewers", Jeffay suggests.


We're not seeing this theory in media reports, and we realize we're being a bit heretical, but isn't it possible that the noise is something other than a toilet flush? Listen to the clip again. Are we sure we know what we're dealing with here?

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.