Moshe Ya’alon Keeping Home Front Defense Minister Out of the Loop, Source Says

People close to Defense Minister Ya’alon insist the decision is not aimed at Gilad Erdan personally; however, there have been signs that Ya’alon is trying to protect his turf.

ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid
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ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon is not letting Home Front Defense Minister Gilad Erdan attend the weekly situation assessments at his office, even though Erdan’s predecessors were always on hand, a senior Israeli official said Wednesday.

When Ehud Barak was defense minister, home front defense chiefs Matan Vilnai and Avi Dichter were present at the meetings every Thursday, which are attended by the Israel Defense Forces chief of staff, top generals and officials of the police and Shin Bet security service.

According to the senior official, Erdan has asked to be invited, but Ya’alon refused. Ya’alon assured Erdan that he would receive all intelligence and security material related to threats to the home front, but that there “was no need” for him to be present.

Associates of Ya’alon insist that this decision is not aimed at Erdan personally, and that the defense minister has no intention of isolating Erdan or blocking his access to military officials.

Ya’alon’s decision, however, appears strange; when Ya’alon is abroad, Erdan is meant to assume his responsibilities and may even be called on to lead the weekly meetings. Moreover, many issues at the meetings touch on Erdan’s mandate such as rocket fire from Gaza and the tensions on the northern border.

Politicians and security officials have said in recent weeks that Ya’alon, a former IDF chief of staff, is flourishing at the Defense Ministry – that he slid into his new post with barely any adjustment.

On the other hand, there have been signs that Ya’alon is trying to protect his turf at the ministry; one is the Erdan issue, another is the tension between Ya'alon and his deputy, Danny Danon.

In recent weeks, Danon has been frustrated because Ya’alon hasn’t delegated specific responsibilities to him. Danon was also offended by Ya’alon’s refusal to appoint him a military secretary. There may be some logic to this, considering that Danon received his post as a political consolation prize from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – he has no relevant security background.

Journalist Tal Schneider reported on her blog Tuesday that Danon has asked Ya’alon for responsibility for the Civil Administration in the West Bank, which addresses issues such as the planning and building process in the settlements.

But it doesn’t appear Danon will receive that assignment; Ya’alon apparently prefers to keep tabs on that through his new adviser on settlement matters, Col. (res.) Gilad Altman. Ya’alon will probably let Danon be involved with the settlements in some way without giving him actual authority.

It looks as if Danon may be made responsible for handling the reserve-duty system and the Defense Ministry’s Security-Social Services Branch, which deals with community relations, enlistment and issues such as Gadna youth programs, the premilitary academies and ties with youth movements. Danon did his IDF service as a Gadna officer.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon a millitary outpost in the Golan Heights.Credit: Gil Eliyahu

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