After Putsch, Ya'alon Slams Netanyahu Government's 'Loss of Moral Direction'

Defense minister admits 'surprise' at direction of Israeli society as Likud seeks to close deal with Lieberman.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, February 2016.
Emil Salman

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said Thursday he has been "surprised" of late at a "loss of moral compass on basic questions" in Israeli society, even as Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman worked to finalize an agreement that would see him replace Ya'alon as defense chief and expand the ruling coalition.  

"We need to steer the country in accordance with one's conscience and not whichever way the wind is blowing," said Ya'alon at a seminar of Israel's Youth Movement in Tel Aviv.

More on the Netanyahu-Lieberman pact: Netanyahu using Lieberman to break Israel’s oldest elite / Anshel Pfeffer | To preserve his rule, Bibi willing to stomach his greatest political rival / Yossi Verter | Israelis will pay for Netanyahu's reckless appointment / Haaretz Editorial | Lieberman's first battle as defense minister will be against IDF / Amos Harel | What really happened between Netanyahu and Herzog? / Ari Shavit | With Lieberman, Israelis should head for the bomb shelters / Gideon Levy | Israel now torn between rule of law and rule of ruthless power / Ravit Hecht | How Blair and Sissi tried to push Zionist Union into Netanyahu's coalition / Barak Ravid

Lieberman neared a final deal with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to join the Likud-led coalition on Wednesday. If finalized, the deal would see Ya'alon removed from his post as defense minister and possibly appointed to the Foreign Ministry.

"I can't say that I wasn't surprised," said Ya'alon regarding the current trends and rhetoric in Israeli society, saying that some were blatantly attacking the nation's basic values.

Ya'alon didn't directly address Lieberman's impending appointment as defense minister, but said that "There's an expression that 'the truth will lead the way,' and I'm a big believer in that."