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US Rebukes Ya’alon for ‘Offensive’ Remark that Kerry is Messianic

When an Israeli leader says what he really thinks of Kerry, it is no wonder that the US is insulted, even if it is true.
Minister of Defense Moshe Yaalon (R) with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Jerusalem two months ago.

Minister of Defense Moshe Yaalon (R) with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Jerusalem two months ago.
Photo Credit: Matty Stern/US Embassy/Flash90

The United States  rebuked Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon Tuesday for having reportedly said that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is “messianic,” that the U.S. proposal for security arrangements under a Palestinian Authority state are worthless and that all of us would be better off if Kerry would just pick up his Nobel Prize and leave us alone.

Ya’alon has not denied or commented on the report of his comments, made in private, exposed without a source by Yediot Acharonot. Presumably, Ya’alon has a political enemy who snitched on him.

The United States was understandably insulted. “The remarks of the defense minister, if accurate, are offensive and inappropriate, especially given all that the United States is doing to support Israel’s security needs,” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a brief statement.

The beauty of the diplomatic faux pas is that the Israeli government – if it is not comatose – will realize that it is possible to say what it thinks about John Kerry without the world coming apart.

The United States was insulted. So what?

Ya’alon finally has done what no other Israeli leader has done -  call a spade a spade and call a Secretary of State a messianic jerk.

Ya’alon is not a diplomat. He is not the greatest politician, and that is to his credit because he is more intellectually honest than others. It was Ya’alon, as Chief of Staff in 2005, who refused to turn Israeli soldiers into an Iranian goon squad to expel Jews from their homes in Gaza.

At the same time, his three-year term as Chief of Staff was due to end. The usual practice is for the Prime Minister to extend it by another year, but faced with the possibility of a loose spoke in the wheels of destruction, then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon dumped Ya’alon and replaced him with Dan Halutz.

Let’s not forget that it was Halutz, one year later when he was supposed to be totally focused on two Israeli soldiers kidnapped by Hezbollah, who was on the phone with his bank to sell shares on the stock market. When he hung up, he got back to work to lead Israel into the debacle of the Second Lebanon War.

Ya’alon is not a diplomat, but he should know that whatever he says, anywhere, can be quoted. He would not dare stand on a podium and call Kerry “messianic.”

Here is what Ya’alon was quoted as saying:

“Kerry has come to act out of an incomprehensible obsession and a messianic feeling {and} cannot teach me a single thing about the conflict with the Palestinians. The only thing that can save us is if Kerry wins the Nobel prize and leaves us alone.”

He  added that Kerry’s security arrangements “are not worth the paper they are written on.”

Ya’alon issued a written statement after the report that the United States is an important ally. “When there are disagreements, we work through them inside the room – including with Secretary of State Kerry, with whom I hold many conversations about Israel’s future,” he said.

The State Dept. reprimanded him. “To question his motives and distort his proposals is not something we would expect from the defense minister of a close ally,” said Psaki.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu stepped on the damage control pedal in a speech in  the Knesset, which marked on Tuesday its 65th birthday.

“We are working to advance regional security and defend our interests,” he said. “True peace is founded on recognition of the nation state of the Jewish people and on security arrangements guaranteeing that territories in Palestinian hands do not turn into launching pads for terrorists. But all that [must be achieved] while respecting our important ties to the United States. We continue to defend our national interests, one of which is the continued fostering of our relations with our ally, the United States.”

About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.


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