Beit Hamachpela in Hebron 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Right-wing politicians took aim at Defense Minister Ehud Barak Wednesday before
and after his order to evacuate Jewish settlers from Beit Hamachpela in
Ministers from Likud, Israel Beiteinu and Habayit Hayehudi said
Barak had too much influence for the leader of a faction of five MKs. They
called upon Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to strip Barak of his authority to
determine the fate of West Bank settlements and give it to a ministerial
“All he does is start fires instead of solving problems,” said
Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon, a former IDF chief of staff. “He does
not represent the policies of the government.
There is a coalition
agreement. Decisions have to be made by the government and not based on the
ideology of one faction.”
Ya’alon accused Barak of “manipulating the
prime minister” to authorize the evacuation, saying that Netanyahu had “fallen
into Barak’s trap.”
Asked on Israel Radio about the chances of Barak
eventually joining Likud, he said: “Anyone who thought they could bring a
proposal for reserved slots or a merger with Barak’s faction to the Likud
convention now knows there is overwhelming opposition to such
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman (Israel Beiteinu) reiterated
his warning that Barak’s behavior could lead to a coalition crisis. Habayit
Hayehudi chairman Daniel Herschkowitz said Barak should be replaced, even if it
means going to elections.
Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat said
that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu must remember that he is leading a Likud
government, not an Independence government.
MK Danny Danon (Likud) sent a
letter to Netanyahu asking that Ya’alon be made defense minister.
responded by accusing his critics of caring more about their own political
future than the good of the country. He singled out Ya’alon, who he said was
trying to build up his credentials for a future prime ministerial
“The man who declared himself Netanyahu’s successor started his
campaign for the next primary,” Barak said. “He is out to enlist the votes of
[Likud activist Moshe] Feiglin.
It is unfortunate that Ya’alon mixes
cheap political considerations in defense establishment decisions, while
undermining the responsibility of the government to protect democracy and the
rule of law.”
Barak’s associates compared the defense minister to former
NBA center Shaquille O’Neal, who faced physical defense when he was at his prime
that was known as “hack-a-Shaq.”
“The Right is playing a game of
hack-a-Barak,” they said.
“Likud politicians are competing over who could
issue a fiercer comment attacking the defense minister. This is yet another
problem with the primary system in Israel today.”