Moshe Ya'alon and Michael Oren's Arrogance Toward Obama Harms Israel's Security

Israel's defense minister is helping erode the firm alliance between the Pentagon and defense headquarters in the Kirya - Israel's most vital strategic asset.

Haaretz Editorial
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Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon.Credit: Ofer Vaknin
Haaretz Editorial

Briefing correspondents on Monday, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon provided yet more evidence of the shallowness of the leadership in Israel. Ya’alon may have been careful this time not to slander anyone, after being burned by his gross attack on U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who he called “messianic” and “obsessive,” but the address of his criticism remains the American administration.

On the eve of an expected agreement between Iran and six world powers, the goal of which is to stop Iran’s progress towards developing nuclear weapons, Ya’alon said that the “Americans have an alternative story on the Iranian issue that I’m not buying,” and described the disagreement between Israel and the United States in black and white terms: The American administration sees in Iran a solution, while the government of Israel sees it as being a problem.

Ya’alon continues to demonstrate the superficial approach that has characterized him throughout his entire term, as if he has not learned much in his senior positions over the past two decades – as head of Military Intelligence, IDF Chief of Staff and Defense Minister. A change in Iranian policy is definitely one of the key conditions for replacing the culture of conflicts and wars in the Middle East with sustainable agreements. Israel, too, is an interested party.

Without Iranian aid, Hezbollah would be transformed from a significant enemy into one of many organizations in the Lebanese political arena, with the danger of war in the north receding as a result. The possibility of achieving successful coexistence with the Hamas government in Gaza, or at the very least of preventing repeated rounds of violence, is dependent on Iran’s willingness to cooperate with such a trend, and not prevent it through militant elements in Hamas or other factions, such as the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. An agreement that will prove to the Iranian population, who are thirsting for economic rehabilitating, that moderation pays off will be a step in the right direction and will benefit the entire region, including Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s governments cannot present an impressive list of achievements in the area of diplomatic wisdom. Those who have mostly excelled at not reaching agreements, and in so doing dragged Israel into bouts of violence and diplomatic isolation, cannot preach to others how to achieve a wise and beneficial agreement.

The arrogant approach toward the American administration, represented by Ya’alon and rife in the cabinet, attributes great naiveté and a lack of understanding to Washington, but it is not based on any diplomatic or security achievement on the part of its critics.

Israel is entitled to protect its supreme security interests, which, as opposed to Ya’alon’s position, do not include worshipping the settlements and a lack of belief in a diplomatic agreement. The arrogance toward Obama, as demonstrated by Ya’alon and MK Michael Oren (Kulanu,) harms Israel and erodes its most vital strategic asset – the firm alliance between the White House and the Prime Minister’s Office, and between the Pentagon and defense headquarters in the Kirya in Tel Aviv.

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