Israel appoints Ya’alon as new defense minister amid growing threats

( Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has selected Likud MK (Member of Knesset) Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon as the next defense minister, amid the numerous growing threats—including Iran’s nuclear program, the Syrian civil war, the Muslim Brotherhood’s rise in Egypt, and Palestinian terrorism—facing Israel today.

The 62-year-old Ya’alon, who replaces Ehud Barak, brings considerable security experience to Israel’s defense ministry. A veteran of the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Ya’alon later served in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) elite Sayeret Matkal special forces unit. He was appointed head of military intelligence in 1995 and eventually served as IDF chief of staff from 2002-2005, during the height of the Second Intifada.

Moshe (Bogie) Ya'alon will be the Israeli defense minister. Credit: Reuven Kapuscinski.

In 2005, Ya’alon retired from the military because of disagreements over Israel’s disengagement from Gaza with then-Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz. Following his military retirement, Ya’alon served as an expert for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and later joined the Likud party list in for the 2009 elections. After entering the Knesset, he served as Vice Premier and Minister of Strategic Affairs in Netanyahu’s government.

Known for his strong positions on security and defense, Ya’alon considers Iran’s nuclear program to be Israel’s top security threat.

“The most dangerous threat today is the nuclear threat on the part of Iran, which is working to achieve regional hegemony,” Yaalon said in a recent interview, according to the Associated Press.

“It is impossible to deal with the Middle Eastern instability without dealing with this threat,” he said.

Ya’alon is also skeptical of peace with the Palestinians; he does not consider Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to be a viable partner for peace.

“The goals of Abbas are the same as the goals of Hamas [which wants to eradicate Israel, according to its charter],” Ya’alon has told Israel Hayom.

Posted on March 17, 2013 .