Moshe “Bogie” Yaalon has been demonstrating courage and clarity of purpose of late. He has spoken out on a number of issues and is to be applauded for doing so.
So often it happens: those who at one time seemed to support certain issues begin to view things differently once they become ministers. Or else they become strangely mute. After all, there is party allegiance to consider — all-important for one’s political future. And there is status, and the need to protect the perks of office.
We all know what I’m talking about. We’ve all felt the disappointment of hoping that a particular member of the government would take principled stands, only to find that he or she ultimately does not.
But now it is becoming clear that we may have in Strategic Affairs Minister and Vice Premier Moshe Yaalon someone who actually cares more about his nation and his principles than he does about his political future.
This is not something that should go unnoticed or unsupported. In fact, Yaalon needs our support big time.
For Zionist reasons, Yaalon was upset by the recent change in the law — pushed through by Netanyahu — regarding the Israel Land Authority, so that now private purchases are permitted of what has to date been Israel-owned land. He threatened to resign, and, in a deal with Netanyahu, was appointed head of a committee to decide on limits to that law.
On Sunday, he spoke at a rally for Moshe Feiglin — Netanyahu’s ideological/political opponent and head of the Manhigut Yehudit faction within the Likud. In his speech, was which reported by Channel 2, Yaalon said:
“There are certain things we need to say – up to here. When you do things you don’t believe in, you enter a slippery slope because they put pressure on you, and you keep rolling downwards.”
“I, for one, am not afraid of the Americans. I believe that Jews have the right to live anywhere in the land of Israel forever.”
He also criticized the far left. And it seems he singled out Peace Now, which he referred to as a “virus.”
Then on Monday, in the company of other ministers, Yaalon visited some “unauthorized” outposts in Samaria. Following the visit, he gave an interview explaining that so called “illegal” outposts are not actually “illegal,” as they have approval from many sources already (as I’ve explained here), but just need a final approval that can still be provided — making them fully legal.
Well! Our prime minister is not responding positively to his minister of security. In fact, he summoned Yaalon to his office yesterday to register his discontents, which are numerous.
The prime minister’s office then issued a statement:
“…the remarks made by Minister Ya’alon are unacceptable, neither in their essence nor in their style, and do not represent the government’s stance.
“In the face of the pluralism of opinions in the Israeli public, the prime minister believes mutual respect and unity must be maintained. This is right for any time, and especially for these times.”
And tonight Netanyahu is meeting with him again — cutting his vacation short to do so. Reportedly he didn’t like the implicit criticism of Obama and the support for the unauthorized outposts — a position that flies in the face of Obama’s demands that we take them down. (It should be mentioned — it is surely not unrelated — that Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with Mitchell soon.) There was also, as has been made clear, distress over Yaalon’s politically incorrect position with regard to the far left.
I say bravo to Yaalon for being forthright in his positions. Wonderful indeed to know that someone high up in government is not being obsequious in his approach to the US (which is how I yesterday described
Netanyahu’s decision to refrain from issuing building tenders in Judea and Samaria). A relief to hear someone say out loud that we have a right to live anywhere in the land we wish.
Yaalon should be cloned several times over. Particularly is this important as it turns out we have a prime minister who is not as attentive to the right flank of his coalition as he should be — considering that he argued that it was because of the mandates achieved by the right that he should be given the first opportunity to try to form the coalition. Netanyahu’s been slip-sliding leftward.
Feiglin called the prime minister’s summons of Yaalon an “overreaction,” and I would agree.
“Ninety percent of the public agrees with what Ya’alon said, and the fact that Netanyahu is trying to scare him after saying it proves that he is acting not on behalf of the public but on behalf of the elites that control him,” Feiglin said.
Yaalon’s spokesman said he knew the radio show was being taped, but that his views are clear and well known. Yaalon stands by what he said. (What? No backtracking? No hedging or double-talk? Also a pleasant state of affairs.)
Peace Now called Yaalon “paranoid” and a “danger to Israeli democracy.” This is an attempt to stifle him and read him out of the fold. In fact, this organization that legally does not exist has demanded that Netanyahu fire him.
Our self-serving, ever-political and ever-politically correct defense minister praised Peace Now (save us from this!) as “an integral part of the discourse in Israeli society.”
There is an essential “rightness” (double entendre intended) about Yaalon’s positions. He must be praised for defending our prerogative in settling our land. As well, his readiness to stand independent of Obama is much welcome. How wearisome and ultimately destructive it becomes to try to please and second guess a US president who is essentially anti-Israel.
And, I would add, there is an issue of free speech in a democracy implicit in what’s going on here. It is attempts to muzzle Yaalon that are properly labeled a “danger to Israeli democracy,” not his speaking out. Those attempts need to be fought. Those of us who are on the right must not tolerate being relegated to the category of “kook” or “danger.” It’s a convenient corner into which too many of our adversaries have sought to push us.
As to the organizations on the far left, I can only concur most wholeheartedly with what Yaalon has said. I have done sufficient research to understand the ways in which these groups seek to undermine all that we stand for as a sovereign Jewish state. I will return to this issue, which is far too extensive too take on here. But you might like to take a look at my report on Adalah, for insight into what’s going on:
Now I simply share my frequent distress at seeing far left organizations being given extraordinary latitude within our society to damage our society, all allegedly in the name of democracy. Thus, is Yaalon’s forthrightness — his readiness to take on the threat from within — to be praised. He may have made it permissible at last to ask publicly, “What the hell is going on here?”
And so, PLEASE! Let Bogie Yaalon know that you are grateful that he has said publicly what so many of us think, that he stands behind his principles and is willing to incur political costs to do so:
Minister for Strategic Affairs Moshe Ya’alon
Additionally, let Binyamin Netanyahu know that you are grateful for the principled and forthright statements of Yaalon and that you stand behind his right to espouse the positions he does without penalty:
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
E-mail: email@example.com (underscore after pm)
And then, write to newspapers HERE IN ISRAEL (this is an Israeli issue!), in English and Hebrew, defending Yaalon and insisting on his right to speak out on his principles. Point out that the left would vilify him in order to silence him when his criticisms are legitimate. Do the same with blogs wherever and however it is possible.
This is a beginning. It’s clear, it’s simple. It is important in fighting a fight that must be fought.