Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Breaking News

Ousted Israel Defense Minister Vows To Challenge Benjamin Netanyahu

— Recently resigned Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon sent an email to former campaign donors suggesting that he would soon mount an electoral challenge to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“I regard this period as a ‘time-out’ after which I intend to return and run for Israel’s national leadership,” he wrote in English in the email, reported the Jerusalem Post.

Yaalon resigned from his post on May 20 when it came to light that Netanyahu was in negotiations with Avigdor Lieberman to bring his nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu party into the ruling coalition, giving Netanyahu a more stable majority.

In announcing his resignation, Yaalon, a longtime member of Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party, said he had lost faith in Netanyahu and that he was “fearful for Israel’s future” due to rising extremism. Lieberman was sworn in Tuesday as defense minister.

In the letter to donors, Yaalon reiterated his opposition to the new coalition and its implications for his party and Israeli politics in general.

“I am saddened to witness the fact that a small and extreme minority are taking over sectors of the Likud Party and influencing parts of Israel’s complex society,” he wrote. He briefly thanked Netanyahu for his cooperation in Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s 2014 military campaign in the Gaza Strip, but went on to criticize the prime minister for playing politics without naming him directly.

“It is unfortunate that some of Israel’s most senior politicians have chosen the path of separation and incitement instead of reducing the flames of conflict. A strong leadership should be driven by a sense of moral standards, and this path should be pursued even in the face of opposition. When leadership is driven by electoral considerations and swayed by public opinion, this is an avenue I can no longer traverse with a clear conscience.”

Yaalon concluded his letter by thanking his donors for their “friendship and support over the years” and invited them to stay in touch. “I have always considered the naturally strong bond between Israel and World Jewry of prime importance,” said.

According to the Jerusalem Post, Yaalon’s spokesman declined to elaborate on the letter’s intentions or Yaalon’s future plans, saying that readers were free to interpret the letter “as they see fit.”

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.