Former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon hinted at a political run in the near future in a letter obtained by The Jerusalem Post he wrote to past campaign donors.
In the letter – written in English and circulated to scores of donors via email – Ya’alon, who resigned May 20 to protest Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to replace him with Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman, expressed some of the same frustration with the current state of Likud that he exhibited in the speech announcing his resignation.The letter was additional evidence of widespread speculation that Ya’alon is planning a return to politics and that he could establish and lead a new political party that would directly compete with the Likud for voters on the Right. Names that have been mentioned as possible running mates include former Likud minister Gidon Sa’ar, as well as former IDF chief-of-staff Gabi Ashkenazi.“I entered politics out of a sense of commitment to the State of Israel and its security, and for this reason I am not considering quitting the public or political arena,” he wrote to the donors. “I regard this period as a ‘time-out’ after which I intend to return and run for Israel’s national leadership.”Ya’alon wrote that he recently found myself in disagreement both morally and professionally with Netanyahu and other ministers and MKs over a number of fundamental issues. Ya’alon wrote that he did not regret the stand he took or his decision to leave the cabinet.“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. “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.”In words typically used in letters to current and future campaign contributors, Ya’alon wrote that he would like to take the opportunity to thank his donors for their friendship and support over the years, and that he sincerely hoped they would stay in touch in the future.“I express my appreciation for your friendship, and hope that you will always feel free to continue to remain in contact with me in the future,” Ya’alon concluded.Ya’alon’s spokesman said the letter reiterated statements he made when he resigned, and everyone could interpret his words as they see fit.