Tag Archives: Israel

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.

„No one knows how the power structure will ultimately shift in the Middle East“ – interview with Steve LeVine

– Usually (especially after the success of „Putin’s Labyrinth“ book) people tend to associate your name to Russia. However, your experience as correspondent in the Central Asia and Middle East, makes me to focus the discussion on the events in Egypt and Arab world. For Egyptians still is a moment of euphoria. But political analysts are reticent. What would be the major concerns and challenges for world powers and zonal actors? And what should worry Egyptian people?

Steve LeVine

– Analysts are reticent because no one knows what type of governmental system will result from the uprising, and how Egypt will interact with its nei­g­hbors. So that generates a whole series of questions for which unfortu­na­tely there are no answers, and very few clues. They include: Will the Army organize elections that end up reflec­ting the true will of voters, or will they reflect the leadership that its generals believe is „best“ for Egypt, regardless of their popularity? Whatever govern­ment is formed, how will it manage to satisfy the much-raised expectations of the Egyptian people? On foreign mat­ters, will Egypt continue to be a proactive intermediary in Middle East conflicts? Specifically regarding its respective relationships with Israel and the Palestinians – will it continue to be an honest broker between these antagonist parts?
– Most journalists are asking: Who’s next? There will be a domino effect throughout the Arab world? Sure, perhaps with not the same speed of propagation …
– I think it gets more difficult from here. After Egypt, the remaining despots of the region know that Tunisia was not a one-off event – they are all potentially in danger. Mubarak seems not to have thought he was vulnerable. Now they all know they are, and they are preparing. Yet none of that shifts the reality, which is that popular change really has happened in the Arab world. As I write this, the grip of the leaders of Bahrain and Yemen is in jeopardy. The situation in Libya is quite different.
– How interpret in this context the statement of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Israeli army is prepared for anything, depending on how events will unfold in next time? What option has Israel at this point?
– The events in Egypt potentially shake up geopolitics and security for Israel. The Palestinians could arise in a far more aggressive way, with the help of allies in Lebanon and elsewhere, for example. Israel no doubt has its lines of communication open with the Egyptian Army for this very reason. It wants Egypt to continue serving as a mediator with the Palestinians.
– Behind the media uproar of unrest in North Africa, at the Munich Security Conference was put the last piece of the new treaty START 2. Fairly quietly, I would say, given that was a top priority for both presidents – Obama and Medvedev. So, beyond the official rhetoric, there will be a real change in approach to global nuclear programs for military purposes?
– If what you mean is whether the key nuclear states – Russia and the United States – are going to do away with their nuclear arsenals, the answer is No. The first reason is that, even if they do, so many other countries have capability and are gaining it that it would be fruitless. Another reason is that it is a perceived fount of power in both countries that neither will surren­der. (Full text)

Romanian language version – can be read here

Published in Cadran Politic Review, April 2011

Middle East Peace Process on the agenda of the Bucharest authorities

Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, was received by Romanian President Traian Basescu. Also, Israeli dignitary met with Prime Minister Emil Boc, Senate president Mircea Geoana and Foreign Minister Teodor Baconschi. On the agenda were bilateral economic relations between the two countries and increase Israeli investments in Romania.
Romanian-Israeli talks have not spared any hot topic of Middle East Peace Process. In the press conference of the two foreign ministers, the Romanian side reiterated its willingness to resume Middle East peace process based on the roadmap and the Quartet took the diplomatic labor. “We believe that regional stability of the epicenter of the geopolitical risks and opportunities is essential to global stability, so we count on the Israeli political dialogue with our partners and we continue to promote, both within the European Union and in international fora of the UN system defense, argued the solution of two states and a good dynamic, equitable, the Middle East peace process” said Romanian Minister Teodor Baconschi. Recall that Romania is an adept establishment of a Palestinian state.

Minister Lieberman noted that “Romania was the only country to maintain diplomatic relations with Israel even during the Soviet period” so that “we have a very good experience as regards Romania’s involvement in political processes in our region and we believe that is welcome greater involvement of Romania in the region”. “Almost half a million Israeli citizens, originally from Romania, living in Israel. This is very important and will continue dialogue on several issues, relating to the Peace process, bilateral relations and situation in the region” concluded Israeli diplomat. Also, the two sides have proposed to organize in the near future a working meeting of Israeli and Romanian governments to join the partnership between the two countries and an action plan. Mention that Romania had joint government meetings with several European countries. Between 2005 and 2010 also held five meetings between the Romanian and the Hungarian government. And Italy have held joint meetings. In 2008, the Tariceanu Government, was in Italy, pricipalul objective on the agenda was the issue of diaspora. Romanian-Italian another meeting was set for this year.

Avigdor Lieberman (born June 5, 1958, in Chisinau, Moldova) is leader of “Israel Beitenu” (Israel Our Home) which is part of the coalition government.