Israel: Moshe Yaalon is new chief of Ministry of Defence

After 7 years (not in Tibet, but to the Defence Ministry of Israel), Ehud Barak has left government office. He is replaced by Ex-General Moshe Yaalon.

Israel avoid early elections. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed a coalition deal Friday 14 March with rival parties to form the next government, a spokesman said, in an agreement that was stalled for weeks due to tough negotiations. On March 15th, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented the composition of the government to the President. Netanyahu welcomed the agreement in a statement. “We will work together in the new government for the sake of Israel’s citizens. We will act to strengthen Israel’s security and to improve the quality of life for the citizens of Israel” he said. Five parties form the new coalition and the new Israeli government will be sworn by Monday, two days before President Barack Obama is due to visit Israel.

According Haaretz newspaper, ”new coalition will be focusing heavily on social and economic policies, and compromises on Haredi draft, housing and the size of government”. ”Yisrael Beiteinu is considered the big winner in the coalition talks. For its 11 Knesset members, the party will receive five ministerial positions: Foreign Affairs Ministry is being saved for Avigdor Lieberman until the conclusion of his trial; the Agriculture portfolio will go to Yair Shamir; Yitzhak Aharonovitch will keep the public security portfolio; the tourism portfolio will go to Uzi Landau and Sofia Landver will keep the immigrant-absorption portfolio”.

Moshe Yaalon, new chief of Israeli Ministry of Defence

Moshe Yaalon, new chief of Israeli Ministry of Defence

Recently returned from a visit to the Pentagon, where he met his counterpart Chuck Hagel, Ehud Barak leaves his governmental office. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has appointed former military chief  as Defence Minister. Moshe Yaalon will replace Defence Minister Ehud Barak, who is retiring. Ehud Barak, who headed a centre-left party in the outgoing coalition and ran the Defence Ministry for the past seven years. Barak was not a candidate in a Jan. 22 national election. Moshe Yaalon, widely known by his nickname “Bogie” has said the Iranian nuclear program is Israel’s top security concern. He shares the prime minister’s distrust of the Palestinians, but in the past, officials say, he has taken a more cautious line about the timing for a possible Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear sites. Yaalon, 62, spent the past four years in Netanyahu’s inner circle of ministers, routinely boosting the rightist prime minister and his strategic outlook.

Moshe Yaalon was Israel’s military chief from 2002 to 2005 when his term was not extended after he opposed Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip that year, and served as vice-premier from right-wing Likud party in Israel’s outgoing government. In that position, he served in Mr. Netanyahu’s security Cabinet, which dealt with sensitive matters. PM Netanyahu said on Sunday that Mr. Yaalon has the experience to lead the country’s defence during a “decisive period for the security of Israel, as the region around us rages”. However, Israeli journalists noted that some of the new additions to the security cabinet, including ministers Yair Lapid, Naftali Bennett and Gilad Erdan, lack meaningful experience in the defense arena.


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