Ya'alon Supporters Call for Mofaz to Be Fired

A Web site run by supporters of the outgoing chief of staff, Moshe (Bogey) Ya'alon, has called for the dismissal of Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz and warns that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will be hurt at the ballot box if he does not fire Mofaz.

The site, www.yoshra.com (yoshra means "integrity"), launched last month, praises Ya'alon, calling him the "No. 1 soldier" and says "the people are with you."

The site features transcripts of newspaper interviews with Ya'alon, articles in his favor, and statements of sorrow by friends that his tenure as chief of staff was not extended for a fourth year.

Dorit Weissman, who describes herself as a poet and a member of the same kibbutz nucleus as Ya'alon, wrote that in a dispute among its members between supporters of the "open till," in which each member would deposit his army salary and take what he needed as he saw fit, almost without supervision, and the "closed till" in which every member would receive a pre-budgeted sum, "Bogey was always in favor of the open till."

Weissman also wrote, "of course this did not last. In the face of the nucleus members who were responsible, rational and considerate, there were always one or two whose needs, to put it delicately, were greater than others, who took sums of money from the open till without considering others."

One of Ya'alon's supporters, Peretz Dan, wrote a "recommendation" for the chief of staff's last day in uniform. He suggests "immediately creating an action team" and calling a press conference in which Ya'alon's wife would criticize Mofaz and Sharon.

Dan also suggests calling "a giant protest that will start at the Kirya [the main military base in Tel Aviv] and go all the way to the chief of staff's house, with an embrace and sympathy." Dan called for Ya'alon to "respond in the media to his dismissal" after he was out of uniform, and to demand that Mofaz be fired. He also called for the members of the Likud Central Committee not to support Mofaz in any bid for a ministerial portfolio.

"The prime minister has to understand from the grass roots that [Ya'alon's] dismissal hurt his status and that the non-dismissal of the defense minister will hurt his chances at the next election."

Another supporter, calling himself "Beno" suggested making Sharon and those close to him uncomfortable with questions from the floor in the Knesset and in the media, "so they will understand it is their own image they have damaged."

According to another supporter, "Hanan," Ya'alon knows about the Web site. He does not manage it, says Hanan, but he has not expressed opposition to its contents, including the attacks on Mofaz and Sharon.

The orders of the Israel Defense Forces General Staff prohibit "public action of a political party or political nature in military camps and facilities, and public statements by soldiers, verbally or in writing, on any party issue." The orders have not been updated to take into consideration the widespread use of the Internet. They also do not require soldiers to object to statements against political figures by citizens identified with those soldiers.

The chief of staff's bureau had no response yesterday to the statements on the Web site.