BREAKING: Yaalon Quits as Defense Minister, Attacks Netanyahu’s Leadership
Bogie and Bougie are out. Yvet is in. Bibi’s still in the catbird seat.
Even by the standards of Israel’s fractious, bizarre political couplings and upheavals, the drama playing out today in Israel is almost unprecedented. The defense minister, Moshe Bogie Yaalon, has resigned after Netanyahu essentially offered his job to an arch rival, Avigdor Lieberman. The prime minister, who is one of the most insecure and back-biting leaders in recent memory has a long history of building up mentors to a certain point until they threaten to become rivals, at which point he stabs them in the back. If you didn’t know better you’d think Netanyahu’s government was a scene out of Macbeth (with Sara Netanyahu playing Lady Macbeth–though instead of blood, she wipes pistachio ice cream off her hands).
There are two main threads which run through this drama. The first is the increasing friction and distrust between Netanyahu and Yaalon. The latter held the second most important portfolio in the government. As such, he was a future rival to Netanyahu and the latter must perforce cut him down to size. The opportunity came in the form of a speech delivered at Bogie’s invitation by deputy chief of staff, Yair Golan. In the address, the IDF commander warned the nation that the hate and violence brewing inside Israeli society was reminiscent of Nazi Germany in the 1930s.
Israel as a nation under the current right-wing extremist government is smug, self-satisfied and inured to criticism. So Golan’s words came not only as a shock, but a slap in the face to the ultra-nationalists in the cabinet. Netanyahu severely criticized Golan for the clear affront to his leadership. In response, Yaalon stood by his deputy chief as a general stands by his subordinate.
That didn’t sit well with Netanyahu, who called him in to the woodshed for a good spanking. Whatever happened during that meeting didn’t go well. Within 24 hours, Netanyahu had offered Yaalon’s job to Avigdor Lieberman, who is one of the only far-right Israeli extremists currently not in the government. There were murmurings that Bibi was offering Yaalon the foreign ministry as a sop. But the idea of a former IDF chief of staff (Yaalon) accepting a demotion from a leader he no longer respected was too much to bear. Hence, today’s resignation.
The notion that either Golan or Yaalon represent Israeli humanism or moral conscience is revolting. They both have the blood of thousands of Palestinians dripping from their hands. But in the era we find ourselves in even Attila the Hun has become a statesman.
There is yet another bizarre development as a result of Yaalon’s decision. He is also resigning his Knesset seat. The candidate who will assume it is none other than settler flamethrower, Yehuda Glick. You’ll recall he was almost assassinated a year ago or so by an aggrieved Palestinian. Glick is a Temple Mount activist. Which is a euphemistic way of saying he seeks to instigate a religious holy war between Judaism and Islam by destroying the Haram al Sharif so that the Third Temple may be built on its ruins.
When I read the headlines complaining that the reconstituted government will be the most right-wing in Israeli history, I blanch. Can it be any more extremist than the current one? Yes, I guess it can, and will.
If we return to the days of yesteryear (that is, yesterday), Bibi was tempting Labor Party leader Yitzhak (Bougie) Herzog to join the coalition. Herzog was amenable. But the problem is that his value to Bibi had drastically declined since the days just after the last election, when Bibi was offering him the foreign ministry to bring his Party into the government. Now, Bibi was only offering second tier cabinet posts like Justice and Communications.
Though Labor MKs were angry at the prospect of joining the government, Herzog persisted. He and Bibi even dreamed up (an even more bizarre account has Tony Blair and Egypt’s Al-Sisi devising this plot to bring Labor into the government) a fantasy Egyptian peace plan and a trip for the two of them to Egypt to consult with military junta leader, Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi, who was the author of this new initiative. It doesn’t matter that no Palestinian leader had asked for Egypt’s help to negotiate on their behalf. Nor that there was a peace process to revive, since Bibi had trashed the last effort by Secretary of State Kerry. What mattered is that Bibi and Bougie needed a fig leaf to persuade each of their constituencies that there was something urgent and important that brought them together: peace.
In this case, peace was a ploy. The initiative isn’t real. Al-Sisi is as fake an Egyptian leader as they are fake Israeli leaders. They don’t stand for values, principles or ideas. They stand for themselves and their own interests. They don’t lead, they follow. What they follow, even they don’t know.
Somehow a plan that was young, vibrant and alive yesterday has now withered on the vine like Jonah’s gourd. Today, Israel is in the throes of yet another internal coup d’état bringing an even more racist, violent and corrupt leader into the government.
By the way, let’s not forget accusations made the last time Lieberman was in government that he is essentially a Russian asset who relays intelligence directly to Putin. Israeli media even noted that the Shabak and national security officials refused to brief him about matters pertaining to Russia since they believed it would land on Putin’s desk the next morning. If any of this is true, then having Lieberman in the defense ministry is an even more golden plum for the Russians. Now Lieberman has access to Israel’s military plans in Syria, Iran and other hotspots that involve Russia. Not to mention the intelligence data he will be privy to from Israel’s American allies.
13 thoughts on “BREAKING: Yaalon Quits as Defense Minister, Attacks Netanyahu’s Leadership – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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‘An aggrieved palestinian’ or an almost murderer?
Attila the Hun?
#Richard I’m sorry but I don’t understand you. How do you define democracy? When election results are exactly what you want? Or when ‘the people’ choose? Netanyahu was the overwhelming victor. He’s what the Israeli people wanted.
The Israeli right was the overwhelming victor. That’s what the people want.
You may not like the results – but this is democracy in action.
So why the expressions of vitrolous hatred and hyperbole?
Is this how you describe and define the Arabs in Gaza who elected Hamas? Or do you use such expressions only when dealing with Jews?
@ Cheesecake: Hitler “won” an election with a minority of the vote just as Bibi did. His party didn’t win a majority. He cobbled together a coalition of misfit parties into a majority. Nor did the right-wing have a vast majority in Knesset. It was a small majority in which Likud played the largest role. But winning less than 30 seats among 120 is not “democracy in action.”
Further, a dysfunctional society may “elect” a fascist dictator who takes his region to the brink of nuclear armageddon & engages in war crimes. Does that mean the world sits back & says: “he was democratically elected. We must honor the people’s will?” That would be insane. The world is not insane. But Israel’s leaders are, if not insane, deeply pathological. The world has no obligation to permit the insane to rule the asylum.
And if we’re going to honor election results, why doesn’t Israel accept the 2006 election results which Hamas won by a plurality (just as Likud did)? So you see we have utter hypocrisy here. You honor the election results you like and stifle those you don’t. That’s not democracy. So you don’t believe in democracy. You believe in a political system that permits Israeli Jews to do whatever they like & permits them to squash any democratic results they don’t like.
Will Lieberman have his finger on the button of those 200+ nukes Israel (*doesn’t* ) have ?
The western world has created and armed a monster that seems to be out of their control now.
“In an unusual speech in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day on Wednesday evening, IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen.Yair Golan likened recent developments in Israeli society to processes that unfolded in Europe before the Holocaust.
“If there’s something that frightens me about Holocaust remembrance it’s the recognition of the revolting processes that occurred in Europe in general, and particularly in Germany, back then – 70, 80 and 90 years ago – and finding signs of them here among us today in 2016.” ”
read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.717948?date=1463815981086
And as if to confirm this Netanyahu makes this appointment. I wonder whether it is merely based on short term egocentric calculations or does he really no longer care very much about the American connection? Because apart from everything else Lieberman’s supposed Russian link might give Washington some food for thought – if that article can still be found there.
Richard you are right
People I know have maintained that ” Sarah ” is a ” betherite” ( as a grunt would say) for some time
” but fail ,but fail , but screw your courage to the sticking place and we will not fail” said lady Macbeth
In reply to macbeth’s question ” if we should fail”
So it was the lady Sarah’s idea then to provoke a mass turnout for the last election by the ” settlers”
By stating if Bibi loses every settler will lose his home in the occupied territories
Peter Dawson coldwarrabbit
“Amid the controversial current shake-up of the Israeli government, the veteran military correspondent of Israel’s most-watched television channel declared on live TV Friday that he was no longer sure he wants his children to live in Israel.”
I wonder how widespread that feeling is now.
@Arie: I remind you that many Americans have said they would leave the country because of Bush or Trump. People become very emotional as a reaction to political change, then put things in proportion over time.
However, this reshuffle is a negative development. Bibi is the ultimate cynical manipulator whose looks ahead no further than 6 months. In this case he’s concerned about his next hurdle of passing a national budget. He couldn’t care less about Lieberman’s opinions. And Lieberman has no consistent ideology, other than making populist remarks. Bibi’s thinking is that since he is personally in control of all major decisions, his defense minister will have very little latitude, and he’ll be able to get through budget legislation without being squeezed by a few rebellious MKs . He’s betting that by reigning in Lieberman he won’t do too much damage to the Defense Ministry.
The problem with this thinking is that Lieberman is even more dishonest and cynical than Bibi, and will jump ship at the first political opportunity. They also have tremendous mutual distrust. Mark my words, there will be another “crisis” in 6-12 months over this or that legislation. Bibi knows this, but doesn’t care since it buys him quiet for the short term. But this leaves no place for longer term strategic thinking. That, in my view is the biggest sin– sacrificing national strategic interests for the sake of short term gain. If he was really so close to making a deal with Herzog which included a diplomatic initiative, now that he broke talks off, the initiative isn’t important? Or, was he just playing Herzog,in which case he was trying to fool the international community? Either way, he hurts Israel’s interests.
Pro-Bibi people will say that Netanyahu IS acting rationally in Israel’s interest, since political stability is also an important thing for a country. This fits into Bibi’s personality of conservatism, just keeping things the way they are. There is some truth to this, but if stability comes at the expense of planning and initiative, ultimately everybody pays a price, except for Bibi himself, who gets to stay in office. .
@Yehuda: Remarkable that we agree on everything you wrote above except for your first statement.
The fact is that emigration is a big problem for Israel. It is not a big problem here. Israelis DO leave because of their despipair over the military-political stalemate with the Arabs. They leave because unlike here, where people have faith that the system will eventually right itself even if a lout is elected president–Israelis who emigrate know the system cannot change or get better.
If I believed that presidential elections would produce a successive roster of Bush-Reagan-Trump-Nixon, etc. with no hope of a liberal Democrat ever getting elected, I’d probably emigrate as well.
@Richard: “israelis DO leave because of their despair over the military-political stalemate with the Arabs. ”
I would love to see the statistics on that if you have them. Generally speaking, international migration patterns follow economic lines, where most people seek to better their economic lives. I think this is true for Israel, too. Personally, every Israeli ex-patriot that I know left mainly for financial reasons.
I know that you can say that the financial situation is a function of lack of peace. Perhaps. But the fact is that migration occurs everywhere when there is an economic gradient between countries and when there is freedom to migrate. Even if there were peace, Israel would still be lower than England, the UK and other some other western countries. That’s much different than claiming that Israelis are leaving for political reasons.
In any case there is healthy population growth here, better than most OECD countries.
(see the chart with annual growth rates)
@ yehuda: read Ian Lustick’s research. He’s devoted his career to documenting Israeli emigration. There is an entire genetation of highly educated, innovatice, ambitious professionals who have, are, or will leave the country. There are 1 million Israekis in tgw U.S. aline. They leave for a variety of reasons of course. But those who leave with young families often indicate the hopelessness of the military situation & a desire to prevent their children from having to fight endless wars is of paramount importance.
When the most patriotic of all Israeli reporters. Roni Daniel, tells the audience publicly that he wants his children to emigrate, that tells you sonething.
correction– when I said “Israel would still be lower than England…” I mean lower GDP and other economic measures.
RE: “There is yet another bizarre development as a result of Yaalon’s decision. He is also resigning his Knesset seat. The candidate who will assume it is none other than settler flamethrower, Yehuda Glick. You’ll recall he was almost assassinated a year ago or so by an aggrieved Palestinian. Glick is a Temple Mount activist. Which is a euphemistic way of saying he seeks to instigate a religious holy war between Judaism and Islam by destroying the Haram al Sharif so that the Third Temple may be built on its ruins.” ~ R.S.
SEE: “MK Plans To Boycott The Swearing-In Ceremony Of Rabbi Yehuda Glick”
(Friday, May 20th, 2016 12:30 PM)
SOURCE – http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/headlines-breaking-stories/419982/mk-plans-to-boycott-the-swearing-in-ceremony-of-rabbi-yehuda-glick.html
P.S. ALSO SEE: “Dangerous Liaison ~ The Dynamics of the Rise of the Temple Movements And Their Implications” | Researched and written by Yizhar Be’er with editing by Tomer Persico | Translated into English by Shoshana London Sappir with English editing by Betty Herschman | Published by Ir Amim and Keshev | March 1, 2013
■ ENTIRE 79 PAGE REPORT [PDF] BY IR AMIM AND KESHEV (“Dangerous Liaison ~ The Dynamics of the Rise of the Temple Movements And Their Implications”) – http://www.ir-amim.org.il/sites/default/files/Dangerous%20Liaison-Dynamics%20of%20the%20Temple%20Movements.pdf