Sources: Yaalon Set to Join Yesh Atid

YERUSHALAYIM -
israeli Defense Minister Moshe 'Boogie' Ya'alon looks over at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking with Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid during a plenum session in the Israeli parliament on June 05, 2013. Photo by Miriam Alster/FLASH90 *** Local Caption *** øàù äîîùìä áðéîéï ðúðéäå îìéàä áéáé éàéø ìôéã ùø äàåöø ùø äáèçåï áåâé éòìåï
Outgoing Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon looks over at Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu speaking with then-Finance Minister Yair Lapid during a plenum session in the Knesset in 2013. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Outgoing Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon tendered his resignation from his post, and from the Knesset, early Sunday, a day earlier than expected. The resignation goes into effect Monday morning, and by that point the government expects to have closed a deal with Avigdor Liberman to take on the role of DM. Until Liberman actually takes office, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will handle the job of Defense Minister.

Yaalon is expected to spend Sunday saying goodbye to colleagues in the Defense Ministry. In a resignation speech Friday, Yaalon said that he would be taking a break from public service and politics, although he expects to return at some point.

But Yaalon’s “vacation” could be shorter than even he anticipated, as the race is on to recruit him as a member of a different party. The most serious offer – and the one sources close to Yaalon said he would be most likely to consider – is one from Yesh Atid, in which he would be number two on the party’s list in the next election, behind Yair Lapid.

David Bitan, the new Likud whip, said that it did not appear that Yaalon would contend for leadership of the Likud, as some reports said he would. “From my information it appears he plans to join Yesh Atid as number two in the party,” he told Channel Two.

Speaking over the weekend, Lapid said that he “salutes Yaalon, and I believe all Israelis owe him thanks for what he did. I believe he needs to be part of the leadership of this country. He was an excellent Defense Minister, and he did a lot of good for Israel. We need people like him to stand in the breach against extremists.”