Former defense minister Moshe Yaalon.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon will head to Washington DC in September for a month-long fellowship at the Washington Institute, sources close to him revealed exclusively to The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.
Ya’alon announced on Facebook Sunday that his primary job before he makes a political comeback will be at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, where he will research Israeli policy following the nuclear agreement with Iran in the face of the unrest in the Arab world, particularly in Syria and Lebanon.
At the Washington Institute, he is also set to do research, but in addition, he is expected to use his time in the US to fund-raise for his political future. He has spoken to several political figures, including former Likud minister Gideon Sa’ar, about the possibility of forming a new party.
But like Sa’ar, Ya’alon remains in Likud, and his staff said he would soon begin a series of political rallies and parlor meetings with Likud activists. Likud activists said it would be hard for him to run again in the party after harshly criticizing it since resigning from the cabinet.
Ya’alon will not be attending a meeting of the Likud’s ideological bureau set for Wednesday. The head of the bureau, Jerusalem Affairs Minister Ze’ev Elkin, invited Transportation Minister Israel Katz, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, and Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee head Avi Dichter to speak at the event.
Besides Sa’ar, Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, Zionist Union chairman Isaac Herzog, and former environmental protection minister Avi Gabbay have also met recently with Ya’alon and discussed his political future.
In a Facebook chat with supporters Monday, Lapid ruled out forming a bloc of parties on the Center-Left but expressed willingness to consider joining together with figures in the Center. Lapid faced criticism Tuesday from Zionist Union MK Miki Rosenthal for saying in the chat that he did not expect drafting yeshiva students to be a key issue in the next general election.
Rosenthal called him a “charlatan who has tricked the voters.”
Lapid responded on Facebook that he had been misunderstood and that the reason why he thought drafting yeshiva students would not be an issue was because he was sure the Supreme Court would rule in Yesh Atid’s favor in ongoing court cases on the matter.