(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Likud MK Bennie Begin lashed out at those who advocated for the ousting of Moshe Ya'alon from his position as defense minister calling those who supported the move "stupid" in an interview with Army Radio on Tuesday morning.
"There are three kinds of right-wing," said Begin. "There is moderate Right, extreme Right and stupid Right," those who supported and celebrated the ousting of Moshe Ya'alon and his replacement by Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) are a part of the "stupid Right," he explained.
"I saw the merriment, the rejoicing and the happiness of the right-wing activists when they saw their campaign was complete and that their defense minister, Moshe Ya'alon, had quit his job and the government," lamented Begin.
"That means that a man who was completely dedicated to working against the formation of a Hamas based state in the West Bank is not acceptable, but a man who vowed to occupy Gaza and enforce the death penalty is absolutely Kosher," he said, openly referencing statements made in the past by Liberman.
Begin, who was offered a position as a minister-without-portfolio during the latest round of coalition negotiations, explained in the interview that he rejected the proposal because he felt that the personality and atmosphere of the current government could not facilitate his efforts.
While the Liberman appointment was not the entire reason for his rejection of the position, Begin indicated that the recent shift in leadership in the defense ministry may have influenced his decision.
"Of course, the fact that the defense minister was replaced, that my friend the good, excellent and praiseworthy defense minister Moshe Ya'alon left the government and was replaced by Liberman who was sworn in yesterday, is not making it easier and wouldn't further my ability to contribute to the current work of the government."
"I felt it would be counter productive for me to sit at the cabinet table," he added.
Begin abstained from the vote held on Monday night in the Knesset plenum to approve Liberman's appointment to the defense ministry.
"I sat in the government with Liberman as the foreign minister for four years," said Begin. "Our relationship was the relationship of coworkers but I judge his suitability for his new position based on the statements he has made."
Begin denied rumors that this would be his last term in the Knesset despite the difficulties he has faced. "I wake up in the morning on Mondays Tuesdays and Wednesdays with the desire to go to work. I am enjoying my work in the Knesset."