At his keynote speech at the 2016 Herzliya Conference, Lt. Gen. (res.) and former Minister of Defense Moshe (Bogie) Ya’alon announced his plan to run for Prime Minister of Israel in the next elections. But he did not reveal in which party.
Ya’alon began by describing the current security situation of Israel and reviewed the different threats it is facing. “Terrorist organizations have taken the place of the nation states. War against them will be costly, not an existential threat towards Israel,” he said. Ya’alon argued that following the nuclear agreement with Iran, even though it continues to be “the number one element thriving to destabilize the region and attempt to hurt Israel through terrorist organizations,” it is not an immediate threat to the existence of the state of Israel.
“Knowing the strategic situation of Israel in detail, and the IDF’s power and capabilities, I can say that today and in the foreseeable future there is no existential threat to the state of Israel,” Ya’alon insisted. “Therefore,” he continued, “it is expected of the leadership to stop scaring the citizens of Israel and giving them the sense that we are on the brink of a second holocaust. It is a cynical attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of the public, because of the perception that if the public is scared, they will forget the everyday challenges they are facing.”
“Last month I resigned my positions as Israel’s minister of Defense and member of the Knesset. In my announcement I declared my plan to return to public life. My intent is to run for the leadership of Israel in the next elections. The last few months have added and clarified for me the perceived differences between the prime minister and myself.”
“What I am truly worried about are not the weapon trucks travelling from Syria to Lebanon, nor Iran’s attempts to terrorize us – Israel can handle these threats. What I am worried about are the cracks in Israeli society, and the breaking down of fundamental values. The attempts to hurt the IDF in a way that endangers its resilience. The fact that the leadership became litigious instead of building an exemplary society.”
“The state of Israel needs change. We need a leadership that will lead Israel according to its conscience and not based on polls and radical responses on social media. We deserve a leadership that does not use underhanded tactics of ‘divide and concur,’ dividing and inciting Israelis against each other to gain an additional month in government.”
“It is the role of a state leadership to connect the different parts of society, not tear them apart. We require a leadership that would not allow attacking judges and Supreme Court. We deserve a leadership that is not busy with incitement and lashing out against judges and enslaving the media for its own survival needs. The media in Israel must be free and unthreatened, and allow people of all opinions on the right and the left to express them. We deserve a leadership that will be a model of tolerance, a leadership that will vigorously fight sexual harassments and violence against women. A leadership that will not base its survival upon hatred and incitement towards leftists, rightists, settlers, Arabs, Kibbutz members, or any other group – only to get a few more votes.”
“Israel must remain a Jewish, democratic state, and part of the family of nations. It must not allow the violent and racist discourse of a radical minority that have infiltrated the mainstream and the leadership to roll us down to the abyss.”
“A change is important for the future of the state of Israel and it is our obligation to execute it for our future. Therefore, I plan to offer an alternative to the current leadership, because we have no other country,” Ya’alon concluded.