‘I did not leave the Likud, the Likud left me’: an interview with Moshe Ya’alon (Fathom)

Moshe Ya’alon is a former Chief of Staff for the IDF and served under the Netanyahu government for three years as Defence Minister. Since resigning from the Defence Ministry in May 2016, Ya’alon has left the Likud party to set up his own NGO and form a new political party, in which he intends for challenge for Israel’s next Prime Minister. He spoke to Fathom editor Professor Alan Johnson on 20 March 2017 about the internal challenges that face Israel and why the current leadership is not able to meet them.

Alan JohnsonYou’ve announced that you are establishing a new party to seek to lead the country; Israel already has a lot of parties, why is another new party needed?

Moshe Ya’alon: I haven’t found in the existing parties what I really believe in. I want to lead in my own way. I have 21 years of experience in Israeli cabinets. I have participated in the Israeli cabinet since 1995, serving as the head of Intelligence under the late Yitzchak Rabin. I have seen Israel under five Prime Ministers, and I have drawn my own lessons. I don’t find in the current parties my own understanding of the challenges facing our country – whether they are external or internal challenges. I wished to find this understanding in the Likud party and I did so in 2009, but the Likud moved to the extreme. I decided to resign not only due to clashes with the prime minister but also with other members of the Knesset and ministers in the government. My main dispute with the prime minister is not about foreign affairs, but about internal issues: corruption; moral issues on checks and balances; the role and control of the media – I’m not afraid of being criticised by the media, it is part of democracy; and of course the role of the Supreme Court and the rule of law. But I do believe that we have a vibrant democracy.

So my decision is to establish my own political vehicle based on what I believe in and to be engaged with as many Israelis as I can be. I don’t have a newspaper, I don’t have a TV channel, READ MORE