Ya'alon Leaves Office: 'An Army Needs to Win but It Also Needs to Stay Humane'

Outgoing Defense Minister holds final meetings with chief of staff and General Staff before taking his leave at ceremony at IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv.

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Moshe Ya'alon bids farewell to the IDF top command in a ceremony at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, May 22.
Moshe Ya'alon bids farewell to the IDF top command in a ceremony at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, May 22.Credit: Moti Milrod

Outgoing Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon left office on Sunday in a ceremony at Israel Defense Forces headquarters in Tel Aviv. The army's top command lined up alongside the red carpet to take leave of the departing minister, himself a former general and chief of staff.

Ya'alon, a civilian from Sunday, will not be present at the swearing-in of his successor, who is expected to be Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman.

Before the ceremony, Ya'alon met with Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot for a final review and summing up, and had a separate meeting with the General Staff.

Ya'alon announced his resignation from both the ministry and the Knesset on Sunday, following Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to replace him with Lieberman.

"This is where the security bulwark is located, and I want to thank all of you and express my admiration for you, personally and in the name of the people of Israel," Ya'alon told the members of the General Staff.

"You are the ones who actualize the security that enables Israel to prosper. This forum can be proud of the successes that have brought relative security stability to Israel.

"That is due to the fact that sitting here is a balanced and responsible team, under the leadership of the chief of staff, that uses force intelligently.

"The threats have not ended and this this forum will not be unemployed in the coming years. But remember: An army needs to win, but it also needs to remain humane. Even after the battle or the operation or the war, we need to maintain our values and remain human beings. I am confident that you will continue to lead and win."

Ya'alon also addressed the chief of staff on Twitter. "Thank you for the cooperation," he wrote. "It has been a privilege to work with you, with the generals of the General Staff and the rest of the commanders."

Addressing the members of his bureau and the management of the Defense Ministry, Ya'alon wrote: "It was an experience to work with wonderful people, the assistants, the officers and the soldiers. Thanks to all of you."

In a statement to the press issued shortly after his resignation on Friday, Ya'alon said that he had "recently found myself in intense disagreement with the prime minister over values and professionalism."

He stressed that he did not intend leaving public life and would contend for the country's leadership in the future.

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