Ex-Israeli Defense Chief Ya'alon Announces Plan to Establish New Political Party

Citing hatred against Arabs and corruption as issues topping his agenda, Ya'alon publicly mulls a political comeback for the first time since he quit Netanyahu's cabinet nearly a year ago.

Then Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon touring a Gaza tunnel in 2013.
Alon Basson, Ministry of Defense

Former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon announced Saturday he is forming a new political party to fight corruption, threats to the rule of law, left-right polarization and the “dialogue of hatred against Arabs.”

A Likud party member, Ya’alon quit his defense post in May when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was negotiating a deal to replace him with Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beiteinu). 

Ya’alon and Netanyahu had quarreled over the right of Israeli army generals to express views. They also differed on Sgt. Elor Azaria, the Israeli soldier who killed a subdued and wounded Palestinian assailant in Hebron in March.

“I am establishing a party. I will establish a political force to challenge the leadership,” Ya’alon said, speaking at a cultural event in Tel Aviv.

He said the issues topping his agenda were “internal threats, corruption, a dialogue of hatred, threats to the rule of law, the attempts to delegitimize the press, the dialogue of hatred against Arabs and the Haredim [ultra-Orthodox Jews], and between the left and the right.”

Ya’alon accused politicians of being “responsible for the hatred,” for the sake of furthering their careers.

He also slammed last week’s State Comptroller’s Report, which harshly criticized the government’s handling of the 2014 Gaza war. Ya’alon called the report a “mouthpiece” for far-right cabinet ministers who had sought Netanyahu’s political demise. 

“There is no maneuver, operation or war without mistakes, and where there aren’t lessons to be learned,” he said. “The Israel Defense Forces and myself as defense minister conducted an investigation immediately after the campaign. What needed to be implemented has already been done.”