Ya’alon: I won’t bow to fringe element extremists

In recent days, members of the Likud party and right-wing activists have denounced Ya'alon as a leftist.

Moshe Yaalon
The battle against domestic extremism is “the most important and significant fight,” Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Friday, after those on the far-right circulated an image showing his photo in red crosshairs.
Ya’alon and IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot have become the focus of far-right vitriol following their condemnations of the actions of an IDF soldier who last month shot dead a wounded and downed Palestinian attacker in Hebron.
“After all sorts of fringe element extremists tried to turn me into someone seeking Israel’s harm, the next stage, which should not surprise anyone, has come: Distributing images that incite against me,” Ya’alon wrote in a message posted on his Facebook account.
“That won’t help them. I have no intention of bowing down and giving up the struggle for the image of the State of Israel and of Israeli society. I’ll continue fighting for a State of Israel that is just, sane and moral. One that fights with an iron hand and determination against those who seek to harm it, but on the other hand, one that does not lose its values and does not become numb,” Ya’alon continued.
He called on the public to safeguard its “sanity” and to “sanctify life,” while adhering to the rule of law, and to combat violence and racism while rejecting the “exclusion of the other simply because he is different.”
“This is not a matter of Right and Left. This is our future, and that of our children. It is the question of what kind of country we wish to live in: A country that is part of the family of nations, Jewish and democratic, modern and tolerant, or a country that deteriorates into dangerous and destructive places,” Ya’alon wrote.
He described the fight against “this ugly wave” of extremism that is “washing over the land” as “the most important and significant fight, and saying: “The forces of sanity in Israeli society must be united to win it.”
“Every person in Israel must know they have the right to life, liberty, to work and to seek happiness. Rights that were not given to citizens in charity, but which they own,” Ya’alon said, quoting former prime minister Menachem Begin.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday the photo of Ya’alon in crosshairs “is an unacceptable act and crosses a redline.”
“Public debate must take place in a respectful way and there is no place for such belligerence,” Netanyahu said.
Opposition lawmakers, who also defended Ya’alon, said Netanyahu’s statement was not sufficient.
“The fact that there is not a stronger voice in the government backing the defense minister is a mark of shame on the current government. Leadership must think about what is moral and right and not about the next primary,” said Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid.
MK Yoel Hasson (Zionist Union) predicted that Ya’alon would leave the Likud and called him a good fit for the Zionist Union. Hasson, who was the head of Young Likud, defected to Kadima and became an MK. He is now a lawmaker in the Zionist Union.
“Ya’alon is the target of serious and extremist incitement within his party,” Hasson said at a cultural event in Rehovot.
“Ya’alon is my defense minister and must be defended. It’s unfortunate that I say this more adamantly and clearly than the weak condemnation from Netanyahu.”