Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon.
Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon. Photo by Alon Ron
Text size

Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon on Saturday expressed his support for Netanyahu's decision to set up a unity government, and also came out against an Israeli attack on Iran over its nuclear program.

Speaking at a cultural event in the Israeli city of Nes Tziona, Ya'alon said, "Events of this kind certainly are not encouragement for some people to be involved in politics, or even vote." 

"Because when politicians zig-zag, and a word is no longer a word and a declaration not a declaration, this impairs the public's trust," he added.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition chairman MK Shaul Mofaz (Kadima) reached a surprise agreement early Tuesday morning to form a national unity government. The move came as the Knesset was preparing to disperse for early elections, which were expected to be scheduled for September 4.

Ya'alon, a former IDF Chief of Staff, also spoke out against a unilateral Israel attack against Iran's nuclear facilities at the event on Saturday.

"As someone who has experienced wars, a military move against Iran must be the option of last resort… All other options must be exhausted first," said Ya’alon.

He also hinted that if an attack on Iran became necessary, Israel should not be the one to lead it. "If all of that doesn't help, perhaps someone will need to initiate a military move against Iran," he said.

Asked about his position regarding same-sex marriage in Israel, Ya'alon said he supports every person's right to choose regarding relationships. "It's not about having a ceremony or not," he said. "We must be a society that is tolerant of the choices of every one of our people."

On Saturday, Kadima MK Orit Zuaretz also criticized the deal that led to Israel’s unity government. On her Facebook page, Zuaretz described Mofaz's agreement with Netanyahu as the "auctioning off of 28 MKs and 90,000 Kadima members to Netanyahu."

Meanwhile, Industry and Trade Minister Shalom Simhon (Atzmaut) said on Saturday that Tzipi Livni's loss to Shaul Mofaz as Kadima chief was the event which made the unity government possible.

According to Simhon, Livni was under the influence of people that left the Knesset, and did not allow herself to join the government, promising her that a “new political big bang,” was on its way.

“As soon as Tzipi resigned, the new arrangement was possible, as [Defense Minister Ehud] Barak has much better relations with Mofaz than he does with Livni,” said Simhon.

The decision to expand the coalition was approved by the Knesset in a 71-23 vote on Wednesday, with Kadima head Shaul Mofaz being sworn in as deputy prime minister.

Read this article in Hebrew.