Former defense minister Moshe Yaalon.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon notified Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of his resignation from the government on Friday morning.
In a statement he posted on his social media accounts, Ya'alon said that he took the decision to leave "following the recent conduct" of Netanyahu, and "in light of my lack of faith in him."
"I am resigning from the government and Knesset, and am taking a time out from political life," Ya'alon said.The move came after Ya'alon was ousted by Netanyahu as defense minister in favor of Avigdor Liberman, who is currently in final negotiations to bring his Yisrael Beytenu party into the governing coalition.
Prior to Ya'alon's announcement on Friday morning, it had been believed that Netanyahu would offer him the job of foreign minster as compensation.
Temple Mount activist Yehuda Glick is the next person on the Likud list and will become an MK in place of Ya'alon
Netanyahu and Ya’alon had sparred over the defense minister’s support for embattled IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen. Yair Golan and Netanyahu’s support for a soldier who opened fire on an already “neutralized” Palestinian in Hebron on March 24.
Last week Netanyahu, summoned Ya’alon after he said IDF commanders should continue to speak their minds on issues of morality and ethics, in an apparent reference to the controversy that followed Golan's Holocaust Remembrance Day comments.
In reaction to Ya'alon's announcement, Zionist Union MK Erel Margalit released a statement praising the outgoing Defense Minister while attacking the premier.
"Ya'alon is a brave man, who exposed the moral nakedness of Netanyahu to the world," Margalit said.
"It's time to ignite the streets and bring elections now," he added.
Zionist Union chair Merav Michaeli said, "It was another 'x' in Netanyahu's belt. We lost a balanced and sane voice in the crazy dangerous rightwing government that Netanyahu leads."
Manuel Trajtenberg of the Zionist Union party also commented on the announcement, saying: "The Netanyahu era is coming to an end as central forces from his party are expressing extreme lack of confidence in his leadership." He also called upon Ya'alon and Likud MK Moshe Kahlon to form a new political platform to defeat Netanyahu.
In stark contrast to the general praise Ya'alon received among his peers, Likud MK Oren Hazan welcomed the news of the defense minister's resignation.
"Over the past several years I have repeatedly demanded that the premier replace Ya'alon from the Defense Ministry due to his weak security policies, repeated mistakes and dangerous conduct," Hazan said.
"I regret Ya'alon does not understand the nature of politics, that you don't always win," Hazan continued.
"Politics requires nerves of steel along with composure and patience. For those who do not understand this might discover this the hard way," Hazan added.
The Mayor of Efrat Oded Ravidi also commented on the recent political upheaval: "The departure of Ya'alon from Israeli politics is a loss for the state of Israel. Disputes with the prime minister and parts of the public does not require abandoning a position of power in which Ya'alon is needed. It is a shame that someone of quality will be missing from the leadership of the nation."
However, sources close to Ya'alon indicated that this is not his last word in Israeli politics.
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