Ya’alon quits as Israeli defense minister

Citing his lack of confidence in Prime Minister Netanyahu and the direction in which he is taking Israel, defense minister Moshe Ya’alon has resigned with some harsh words.

“I fought with all my might against attempts to harm the Supreme Court and Israel’s justices, trends whose outcomes greatly harm the rule of law and could be disastrous for our country.”

The latest confrontation between Netanyahu and Ya’alon, which took place at the beginning of the week, was over the public backing Ya’alon gave senior IDF officials to express their opinions. His remarks followed Netanyahu’s criticism of comments made by IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Yair Golan on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The rift between Ya’alon and significant parts of the Likud central committee and party voters widened over the past year over the obstacles the defense minister placed in front of efforts regarding construction in the settlements.

“The rupture between Netanyahu and Ya’alon is real and serious, not political spin. Netanyahu owes a lot to right-wing voters who marked Ya’alon as a red flag,” a Likud source said.

“In general, Israeli society is a healthy society, and the majority of it is sane and aims for a Jewish, democratic and liberal country,” Ya’alon said. “But to my great sorrow, extremist and dangerous elements have taken over Israel and the Likud Party and are shaking the foundations and threatening to hurt its residents.”

“Sadly, senior politicians in the country have chosen the way of incitement and segregation of parts of Israeli society instead of unifying it and bringing it together. It is unbearable to me that we will be divided among us out of cynicism and lust for control, and I expressed my opinion on the matter more than once out of honest concern for the future of society in Israel and the future of the next generations.”

Ya’alon, a former IDF chief of staff and a combat veteran of the Yom Kippur and Lebanon wars, is no Amira Hass or Gideon Levy— which makes his words even more disturbing.

Netanyahu had been negotiating to bring the Labor party into his government with party leader Isaac Herzog as foreign minister before veering sharply to the Right and reaching an agreement to bring in Avigdor Lieberman’s party– with Lieberman as the new defense minister.

I wonder what our Israeli readers think of Labor MK Erel Margalit, who appears to be getting ready to challenge the hapless Herzog.

Given the steady stream of hapless party leaders since Yitzhak Rabin, perhaps his let’s-cut-the-crap approach to the Left and the Right is what is needed.