Sunday, May 22, 2016

Netanyahu responds to Ya'alon

From Arutz Sheva, 20 May 2016, by Hezki Baruch:

PM says Ya'alon should have taken Foreign Ministry, rejects claims of confidence crisis and Likud 'extremism,' renews unity govt. offer.

Netanyahu and Ya'alon
Netanyahu and Ya'alon
Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu issued a statement on Friday afternoon, responding to Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon's (Likud) sudden resignation and press conference earlier in the day.

Ya'alon announced that he intends to return and contend for the leadership, after Netanyahu decided to give his post of Defense Minister to MK Avigdor Liberman as a condition to have his Yisrael Beytenu party join the coalition.

"I am sorry about 'Boogie' Ya'alon's decision," said Netanyahu. "I think he should have continued to be a full partner in the leadership of the state in the post of Foreign Minister."

The Prime Minister thanked Ya'alon for his service in the IDF, where he served as Chief of Staff, and said he appreciates the cooperation that the two shared particularly during 2014 Operation Protective Edge.

"The change in the distribution of potrfolios did not stem from a crisis in confidence between us, it stemmed from the need to expand the government, and that was in order to bring stability to the state of Israel faced in light of the great challenges before us," he said.

"I imagine that if 'Boogie' Ya'alon had not been asked to leave the Defense Ministry and move to the Foreign Ministry, (then) what he calls a crisis in confidence between us would not have developed - and he would not have resigned," said Netanyahu, shooting through Ya'alon's claims that his resignation was a moral decision based on a lack of confidence in the Prime Minister.

Netanyahu then referenced tensions displayed between the two in a recent faceoff, when Ya'alon supported IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Yair Golan who compared Israel to Nazi Germany at a Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony.

Earlier this week Ya'alon escalated matters further when he told IDF officers to give their personal opinions, regardless of whether they countered the policy of the political echelon, leading Netanyahu to summon him for a talk.

Commenting on the showdown, Netanyahu said, "now I want to clarify: the IDF is a moral army."
"It maintains and will continue to maintain the highest values of morality - and at their forefront the purity of the weapon," he said, in a possible reference to Ya'alon's criticism of IDF soldier Elor Azariya, who is on trial for shooting a wounded terrorist.

"There is and will be no disagreement on that. The IDF is also the people's army, and I am firm in my opinion that we have to continue to keep the IDF outside of politics."

"The attempt to bring the IDF and its commanders into a political argument is invalid, and dangerous for democracy," he said in a condemnation of Ya'alon's comments earlier this week. "In a democracy the military echelon is subordinate to the political echelon - and not the reverse."

Batting away Ya'alon's accusations that Likud has become "extremist," he said, "Likud believes in Democracy. Likud is a nationalist liberal movement, a movement that is obligated to defend Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. Likud expresses the central stream of the nation, and as such it is obligated to the security of the state and to striving for peace."

"The government is open to peace. There are opportunities in the diplomatic field, especially due to certain developments in the region that I personally am diligently working on. Therefore I made a great effort to bring the Zionist Union into the government."

"And therefore I leave the door open to this union (with Zionist Union) in the most serious manner, a union that will only do good for the state of Israel," concluded Netanyahu, renewing his offers of a unity government
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