Vice Premier and Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon blasted Israeli leftists as having a "distorted view of Zionism", speaking at celebrations last week to mark 70 years since the establishment of the pre-state Jewish underground militia Lehi.

Ya'alon praised Lehi founder Avraham "Yair" Stern and expressed regret at the way the late rightist leader's nationalist views have been cast into negative light.

"His words of eternal dedication and national Jewish pride have been contaminated in public discourse. They have been turned from words of national consensus to negative remarks seen as 'extreme' and 'uneducated,'" said Ya'alon.

"The ideas that have once inspired the historical Mapai party, and even Mapam, have nearly vanished from the Israeli left, who pretends to uphold them," said Ya'alon referring to Mapai, a dominant left-wing party which was a precursor to the Labor party and Mapam, the Zionist-Socialist Party.

"Unfortunately, the political descendants of Mapai leaders now have a distorted view of Zionism, and that same distortion now exists in the way they regard the state of Israel in their political doctrine."

Ya'alon said that Yair's ideas should be used as a source of learning and discussion. "Israeli students must draw courage and strength from the Lehi founder's ideas so one day they could use them to lead the nation."