With Avigdor Liberman set to become Defense Minister, the fate of the current Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon is not clear. While the original plan, according to sources in the coalition, had been to name Yaalon Foreign Minister, it is not clear that he is interested in the job.
In a speech given to IDF brass Thursday, Yaalon related to his being deposed from the Defense Ministry – and he did not sound happy at all. “I can’t say I wasn’t surprised, but what is troubling is that accompanying this is an attack on basic principles. I am positive that the sane majority does not think the way some of these people do, but as the old saying goes, a small pebble in an empty jug can make a lot of noise.”
Speaking to Yediot Aharonot, Meir Ramon, a close friend of Yaalon’s said that he believes that he believes that the outgoing Defense Minister “feels hurt. He believes in the truth of his way,” in which he tried to cut a middle path among the right wing elements in the government. “But he is strong and he will pass through this crisis and emerge whole, I am sure.”
Yaalon was actually preparing for this moment for months, said Ramon, as it became clear that his policies – such as demolishing outposts and refusing to authorize construction in Yehudah and Shomron – came under fire in the government. “The writing was on the wall, and if they had brought another candidate who had as many merits as Yaalon, he could live with that. But to bring someone like Liberman is a mega-insult, in my opinion.”
And to anyone on the right who is overly joyful that Liberman will be taking over, be forewarned, said Ramon. “Liberman talks rightwing, but Yaalon acts rightwing, in the correct manner. Everyone knows that he did much more for the settlement movement than most others.”