HERZLIYA – Former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon announced his plans to run for prime minister in the next elections and claimed the current government was using the regional security situation to intimidate Israelis.
“Last month I resigned from my position as defense minister and Knesset member, and made it clear that I would return to public service. I intend to run for the leadership of Israel in the next elections,” Ya’alon said at the Herzliya Conference.
Ya’alon continued by accusing the current leadership of employing scare tactics regarding the country’s security.
“The leadership in the State of Israel should stop scaring civilians and giving them the feeling that we are on the brink of a second Holocaust,” he said.
Ya’alon made this statement despite Islamist rebels fighting the Syrian regime on Israel’s northern border; Hezbollah reportedly aiming thousands of rockets at Israel; IS militants gaining ground along Israel’s southern border with Egypt, Hamas terror tunnels snaking into the Jewish state; and Israel facing a Palestinian terror campaign of shootings and stabbings.
Ya’alon resigned his post as defense minister after announcing that he had lost faith in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“If there is something that keeps me up at night and causes me to be anxious for the future of Israel, it’s not the arms transports making their way from Lebanon,” Ya’alon said. “It’s the fractures being created in Israeli society, the systematic erosion of the quality of life.”
He accused Netanyahu of “cynically zigzagging” on his policies every other day just to survive.
“I can’t stand the fact that the leadership in Israel of 2016 is busy fanning the flames, inciting, intimidating, and dividing Jews and Arabs, the right and left wings, and different sectors of society. It does all of this just to survive, stay in government for another month or another year,” Ya’alon said.
“We needed a stately leadership that doesn’t allow anyone to threaten Israeli judges and the Supreme Court. We could argue and disagree over judicial activism—but we must fight any attempt to hurt the rule of law,” he added.
Ya’alon also dismissed claims that the Jewish state is facing an existential threat.
“The State of Israel is the strongest in the region. I can confidently say that at this time and in the foreseeable future there is no existential threat to the State of Israel,” he said. “I say this as someone who knows every last detail of the security situation in Israel, and who knows the power and strength of the IDF and its intelligence capabilities.”
“The Iranian nuclear program, which was put on ice following the signed agreement, does not constitute an imminent existential threat to Israel, which is limited during the period of the agreement, and we have to prepare for future events,” said Ya’alon.
“At this time and in the foreseeable future, there is no existential threat to Israel. It is the strongest state in the region and there is an enormous gap with every country and organization stationed around it. Therefore, it is appropriate for the leadership in Israel to cease scaring the citizens and to stop telling them that we are on the verge of a second Holocaust.”
Likud responded to Ya’alon’s criticism with a statement saying, “It’s funny to see how fast Ya’alon changed his tune. Just a few months ago he said that Iran poses an existential threat to Israel, but today, at the Herzliya Conference, he said there is no existential threat to Israel.”