With the latest wave of Arab terror showing no signs of receding, more Likud members are questioning the methods by which Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon are fighting terrorism. Over the past several days, numerous Likud MKs and rank and file members have been demanding that Netanyahu at the very least fire Yaalon, and replace him with someone more likely to take more dramatic action against terrorists – even, according to MK Aviad Visuly, the head of Yisrael Beitenu, Avigdor Liberman.
The latest Likud bigwig to slam the government’s handling of the terror wave was former MK Gideon Sa’ar, who dropped out of active politics before last year’s election. In a social media message Thursday, Sa’ar wrote that “the ‘patience’ of the defense establishment in fighting Hamas was what extended 2014’s Operation Protective Shield to more than 50 days, and that ‘patience’ has allowed this terror wave to extend for five months. Without a change in the rules of the game, there can be no hope that this will stop.”
The solution, wrote Visuly in his own social media post, was a complete change in policy – maybe even in leadership – in the defense establishment. “It is the mistakes Netanyahu and Yaalon are making in defense that allow the terror wave to continue,” he wrote. “The various ‘concessions’ that the government has made recently – in which it is letting the U.S., Jordan and the European Union set the agenda – are symptoms of these mistakes, as is the failure of these two to develop legal tools against the families of terrorists, or preventing incitement by the Palestinian Authority. These failures are what encourages terror.
“We call on Netanyahu to fire Yaalon and replace him with Liberman. Thus will the coalition be expanded, and some new blood – and ideas – will flow in the defense establishment, which seems helpless to stop the terror,” Visuly added.
In response to Sa’ar’s criticism, the Likud issued a statement, saying that he “apparently has begun a new career as a professional critic on social media. This is an individual who has no security experience and who has never made a security-related decision in his life. To sit back in an easy chair from the safety of Tel Aviv and criticize the government doesn’t cost anything. The government is taking extensive steps to prevent terror and is fighting it effectively.”
There was no response to Visuly’s demand that Yaalon be replaced with Liberman. Speaking on Israel Radio Wednesday, Liberman said that the government’s current policies were an “utter failure,” and that given the chance, he would “put an end to this nonsense and restore security without delay.”