Read articles from Ynet, Ha'aretz, Yedioth Achronoth, Jerusalem Post, JTA, and Reuters, Ynet.
Ynet: "Peace Now: Troublesome Ya'alon didn't take back offending statements"
Peace Now Secretary General Yariv Oppenheimer said that the statement issued by Vice Premier Moshe Ya'alon at the end of his meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during which he was reprimanded for calling Peace Now "a virus," are "mere lip service."
At the end of the said meeting, Ya'alon said that his offending statement was misinterpreted. Oppenheimer said in response that "it is troublesome Ya'alon did not take back his serious comments." (Attila Somfalvi)
Ha'aretz: "Ya'alon's health care plan / The Bogie man's virulent virus"
By Yossi Sarid
Does Moshe (Bogie) Ya'alon also suffer from the attention-deficit disorder rampaging through the land? Or does he suffer from a serious thought-deficit disorder, which makes it difficult for him to understand what his own mouth is saying? One way or another, the leash has been loosened and Israeli public discourse is plunging to the lowest level. From now on nobody will have any doubt "who started."
"Viruses," he called Peace Now people. They are not the only ones - all the elites are contaminated with viruses, which cause contagious diseases and even black plagues. Only Bogie is healthy. Perhaps Feiglin is as well. Is he living on meds in very high doses, this strange man? Or does he need them urgently? Can Ritalin help?
All the vaccination doses Netanyahu has ordered recently won't suffice to inoculate half a state, the half-nation that has been attacked, from this swinishness. How much inferiority feelings, irresponsibility and opportunism does it take to drive a man to spew such an ugly, disgusting emission?
"Viruses," he said. Because who wants a state of elites who serve? Let us have riffraff.
This is the man who serves as vice premier and the minister in charge of Israel's strategic affairs, no less.
We have been told recently that the "sextet forum," of which Ya'alon is a senior member, is a serious group that embodies endless depths of good judgment and balance. Spare us these fairy tales. They're a bunch of people who seem to be suffering from sunstroke, unless they're moonstruck. Even the bad old Netanyahu, with his "the left have forgotten what it is to be Jewish," seems pretty normal next to them.
"I'm not afraid of the Americans," Bogie said there, in the closed meeting with Jewish Leadership activists who crowned him their leader. As a half-brained leader he is not afraid of Obama. But we are very much afraid of Bogie. This fear, which we haven't been able to shake off since we browsed through his autobiography, yesterday soared, leaving us scared to death.
But most terrifying of all is the thought that until not long ago he was the chief of staff, our army's supreme commander. Now we know in whose hands Israel's security is entrusted. Already then he sowed an ill wind and it was we who reaped the storm immediately on his retirement, in the Second Lebanon War.
Folks, the state is in danger. For behold your leaders, Israel. A spirit of insanity is hovering over the tortured earth, and a fundamental darkness over the abyss. We have been screwed big time with these villains, who have completely lost it. And it is not clear to us what is more threatening - the injustice or the folly.
Ha'aretz: "Vice PM Ya'alon: Peace Now is virus"
By Mazal Mualem and Ofra Edelman
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu summoned Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon for clarifications last night following Ya'alon's attack on left-wing organizations that he called a "virus."
Ya'alon, who is also vice premier, made the remark at a meeting of the right-wing Jewish Leadership Movement earlier this week.
Ya'alon's statements, which were reported last night on Channel 2, apparently have embarrassed Netanyahu, who worked within Likud during his election campaign to marginalize the Jewish Leadership Movement, headed by Moshe Feiglin.
According to remarks made by a senior Likud activist, who during Netanyahu's election campaign showed off former Israel Defense Forces chief of staff Ya'alon as a plum acquisition, Likud was also embarrassed, calling the political relationship between [Ya'alon] and what are known as "the Feiglins" after the movement's leader, "dangerous and bizarre," the activist said, calling on Ya'alon to publicly apologize for his statements.
Another senior party member said, "Ya'alon turns out to be an extremist that does not understand the position of senior minister and his statements have damaged the prime minister, Likud and Israel."
When Netanyahu, who is vacationing in Israel, was informed of Ya'alon's remarks, he told associates they were "very serious" and decided to summon the vice premier for clarifications.
Ya'alon, who sees himself as a candidate for the leadership of Likud, was a guest of honor this week at a the Jewish Leadership Movement's meeting in Jerusalem, in which he lashed out at the left, the media and the Americans.
In order to "save the country," Ya'alon said, "we must deal with the issue of the virus that is Peace Now and, if you will, the elites, their damage is very great. From my point of view Jews should live in every part of the Land of Israel forever."
Ya'alon also said, "as chief of staff I often said in closed forums that the politicians bring the dove of peace here, and the army has to clean up after it."
Ya'alon said the media and the left "have power, or influence, if you will, over the prime minister," adding, "unfortunately, the media in general and other factors - call them the elites - are impacting public discourse in a distorted way, lying, manipulative, misleading way."
When asked why we are afraid of the Americans, Ya'alon said, to applause: "I'm not afraid of the Americans."
Ya'alon said the situation in Israel was "undemocratic," noting "what we have here are focuses of power without responsibility."
In further criticizing the media, Ya'alon said that "the challenges are not simple, not in themselves and not in light of the confusion the Israeli public has been fed for the past 16 years.
"In fact, from the beginning of the Oslo process it was clear to us that the other side is cheating. From the moment Yasser Arafat crossed into Rafah, he was cheating."
Ya'alon gave the Jewish Leadership Movement his perspective on terror since the Oslo process began, and his career in the military and Military Intelligence, arguing that the decision to have the dynamic of peace and the atmosphere of peace bring security had led to more terror.
"There's no terror with me," Ya'alon said. Referring to the bomb-maker Yehiye Ayash, killed in 1996, he said: "They denied his existance until his cell phone blew up in his hand."
Feiglin congratulated Ya'alon following his statements and said: "God willing, we will do better things."
Ya'alon remained unfazed by the storm of controversy ignited by his remarks. A statement from his bureau said: Ya'alon met with the Jewish Leadership Movement "after many appeals and in the framework of his meetings with Likud activists throughout the country," and that "participants knew it would be documented." The statement also said Ya'alon's positions were well-known and that he stood behind his remarks.
Ya'alon said, "We must not think for a moment that when a government like ours is elected, the internal ideological struggle has ended."
He said the government had reassessed its approach to the Palestinian and the Iranian situations, and that it had stood strong the the face of American pressure, "which has led to movement in their positions."
He said there was work behind the scenes and he hoped that "very quickly a policy could be presented that I will also share."
Moving to English in his description of the Israeli political scene, he said: "It's not right or left, it's right or wrong," adding that the secretary general of Peace Now, Yariv Oppenheimer, called Ya'alon's statements "dangerous," and "a strategic threat to democracy."
Associates of Labor Party chairman, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, said Peace Now is an important part of the peace camp and an integral part of democratic discourse in Israel.
Yedioth Ahronoth: "Degeneral"
(p. 1) by Sima Kadmon (commentary) -- What was he thinking? That is the most fascinating question before us. What was the deputy prime minister thinking when he went early this week to a conference that was held by the Feiglins? Yes, that very same Jewish Leadership faction that Netanyahu has been making every effort in these past two years to oust from the Likud. And our Bugi, the man and the legend, stood there side by side with Moshe Feiglin, whom Netanyahu detests, and made statements that absolutely contradict the prime minister's positions and caused mortal damage to Netanyahu's standing, not only in the Israeli political and public arena, but also and mainly vis-à-vis the Americans.
After all, Moshe Yaalon isn't just a mere MK. Nor is he a mere minister. This is the man who is closest to the prime minister. He is a member of the forum of six, the most prestigious and influential forum in the government. He is the man who was selected out of a respected gallery of personalities to serve as the deputy prime minister. What should people think when they hear this man speak, if not that he is speaking with the consent of the prime minister, if not on his very behalf?
On the other hand, others will interpret Yaalon's statements as a turn to the Right, as the first signs of disengagement from Netanyahu, as spitting in the face of his patron. People will cite his speech about the snakes, the interview in which he accused Olmert and Halutz of having sacrificed the lives of IDF soldiers for a political spin and other such wretched statements. Time and again, people will quote statements that were made at that political meeting, how he called Peace Now and the Israeli elites a "virus." How he drew a comparison between the illegal settlement outposts and Kibbutz Lehavot Haviva. People will remember how in the space of a single week the former chief of staff managed to rebuild Homesh, which was legally evacuated, to declare that the State Attorney's Office does not represent the government's position on the issue of the outposts and to be the Feiglins' guest of honor. What more can be said? The man has surpassed even himself.
I have a suggestion. Instead of squirming and searching for hidden agendas, instead of sifting through the ideological positions of the kibbutznik who has seen the light, let's simply call this for what it is: The man simply isn't too smart.
True, it is awful to think that he was the supreme commander of our army. And it is no less tragic to think that he currently serves as the deputy prime minister. But perhaps instead of trying to understand the man who described his convoluted world view in a book that was titled A Long Short Route, we should choose the short route and recognize the fact that there's a personality problem at play here.
My heart went out yesterday to the prime minister who, while in the middle of a vacation, was forced to cope with the third scandal in the space of a single week that was started by his very own deputy. It wasn't enough that he had to see him roaming about the illegal settlement outposts as if they were the teen housing wing in Kibbutz Grofit, he also had to hear his rude and impudent statements about the Americans: He, Bugi, the minister for strategic threats, isn't afraid of them. He is going to tell them: no more.
A wise person once said: when you're born dumb, it's for life.
Ynet: "Ya'alon calls Peace Now 'a virus'"
Vice prime minister lashes out at Left during conference of Likud's Jewish Leadership members. Peace Now: Ya'alon is real strategic threat on Israel. PM Netanyahu to summon minister for meeting over statements
Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Strategic Affairs Moshe Ya'alon attended a conference of Jewish Leadership activists this week, headed up by Moshe Feiglin. The Jewish Leadership group is considered the far right-leaning segment of the Likud.
The Prime Minister's Office announced Wednesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will summon Ya'alon for a face-to-face talk on the backdrop of statements he made against Peace Now at the conference when the prime minister returns from vacation.
During the meeting, part of which was broadcast Wednesday evening on Channel 2, Minister Ya'alon used particularly harsh words against left-wing activists and Peace Now members.
When asked by one of the attendees about plans to dismantle the Bnei Adam outpost, he responded, "We again are dealing with the issue of the virus, Peace Now - the elitists, if you may - who have incurred great damage. From my perspective, Jews can and need to live in all of the Land of Israel for all eternity."
Ya'alon warned against folding to US pressure. "There are certain things we need to say - up to here. When you do things you don't believe in, you enter a slippery slope because they put pressure on you, and you keep rolling downwards."
"I'm not afraid of the Americans," said Ya'alon, drawing loud applause from the audience.
Peace Now: Ya'alon a strategic threat
The host, Feiglin, thanked Ya'alon with warm words and promised to support him if he continues on this path. "It is important for us that cooperation come out of this. Every single positive step you make - and it is clear that you will make many - within our party, you will find this growing public helping you along. With the help of God, we will do good things together," said Feiglin to Ya'alon.
Ya'alon is the Likud candidate most favored by Feiglin's camp during primaries, such that such ideological closeness is not an anomaly.
Peace Now Secretary-General Yariv Oppenheimer said in response, "Ya'alon is a real strategic threat to Israeli democracy. His statements are dangerous and indicate Peace Now as a target. It is best that Ya'alon focus on the issues of his office, if there are any."
The deputy prime minister made statements earlier this week that raised a few eyebrows in the cabinet. While visiting the evacuated West Bank settlement Homesh together with three other government ministers, he said, "The disengagement boosted jihadist Islam. Withdrawals strengthen the jihadists and terrorism."
He also said that returning to Homesh must be seriously considered.
Ynet: "Ya'alon on Peace Now affair: My statements misunderstood"
Vice Premier Moshe Ya'alon said at the end of his meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during which he was reprimanded for calling Peace Now "a virus," that his statements were misinterpreted.
Ya'alon asked to clarify the statement he made at the beginning of the week, saying that he did not intend to criticize the government's policies or the prime minister. He apologized if his statements were understood otherwise. The minister added that he recognizes the importance of open and democratic public discourse and of the importance of varying opinion within the society. (Attila Somfalvi)
Jerusalem Post: "Netanyahu summons Ya'alon over comments"
Aug. 19, 2009
Gil Hoffman , THE JERUSALEM POST
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu summoned Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon on Wednesday to an urgent meeting following a report that Ya'alon spoke at an event on Sunday organized by Netanyahu's fiercest critic in the Likud, Moshe Feiglin.
Netanyahu will meet with Ya'alon Thursday night, immediately upon the prime minister's return from his family vacation.
Sources close to Netanyahu said he was very upset with Ya'alon's criticism of US President Barack Obama and Ya'alon's visit to unauthorized West Bank outposts on Monday and he felt the matter had to be dealt with immediately.
They said the prime minister was "annoyed" about a series of events indicating pressure from the Right ahead of his key meeting with Obama envoy George Mitchell next week in London.
"I, for one, am not afraid of the Americans," Ya'alon said in the speech, which was reported by Channel 2's Amit Segal. "I believe that Jews have the right to live anywhere in the land of Israel forever."
In the speech, Ya'alon also denounced the power of the press and other "elites" in Israel to make or break politicians and lashed out at the extreme Left. He also called Peace Now "a virus."
Feiglin praised Ya'alon at the rally and committed to him the support of Feiglin's Manhigut Yehudit ideological forum in Likud, which has become increasingly powerful in the party's institutions. That support could aid Ya'alon in an eventual run to lead the party.
Feiglin called Netanyahu's decision to summon Ya'alon "strange," and accused the prime minister of overreacting, just as he did when he used the Likud's legal institutions to prevent him from entering the Knesset.
"Ninety percent of the public agrees with what Ya'alon said, and the fact that Netanyahu is trying to scare him after saying it proves that he is acting not on behalf of the public but on behalf of the elites that control him," Feiglin said.
Netanyahu's office sent a beeper message to reporters announcing that he summoned Ya'alon 45 minutes after the Channel 2 report aired. A source close to Netanyahu said the prime minister "merely responded because the story was picking up steam."
Ya'alon's spokesman declined to comment about the summons, but he downplayed the importance of the speech to Manhigut Yehudit.
"He meets with Likud activists all over the country," the spokesman said. "He knew the speech was being taped. His views are clear, he wrote them in his book, and he stands by them."
Peace Now responded by calling Ya'alon "paranoid" and "a danger to Israeli democracy."
They advised him to "deal with the matters of his ministry, if there are any."
Kadima released a statement saying that "Bogie [Ya'alon's nickname] was speaking for Netanyahu" and warning that the "Bibi-Bogie-Feiglin axis" harmed Israel's interests, especially the ability to achieve peace.
Labor chairman Ehud Barak responded to Ya'alon that the views of the extreme Right were "irrelevant" while praising Peace Now as "an integral part of the discourse in Israeli society."
This article can also be read at http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1249418649856&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull
Ynet: "Former Meretz head Aloni: Mussolini would be proud of Ya'alon"
Former Meretz head Shulamit Aloni said, "There is no doubt that Mussolini would be very proud of (Minister) Moshe Ya'alon's talk and conduct."
She said this in response to the minister's comments on Wednesday in which he called the Peace Now movement "a virus". Aloni added that "Ya'alon was a failure as chief of staff, and now he is a failure as a minister. He is damaging and he should go take classes in democracy". (Attila SomfalvI)
Ha'aretz: "Netanyahu slams Vice Premier's anti-peace jibe"
By Haaretz Service
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday lambasted Vice Premier Moshe Ya'alon, who told a closed-door meeting of far-right activists last week that he was "not afraid of the Americans" and that anti-settlement groups like Peace Now were "viruses" to Israel.
The statements, referring to the United States' role in the Middle East peace progress and its demand Israel halt settlement activity, came to light after video footage taken by a cellular phone was leaked to Channel 2.
Netanyahu summoned Ya'alon for clarification immediately following publication, and slammed his vice premier's comments as as "neither acceptable in meaning or in approach."
"[Ya'alon's comments] do not represent the stance of the [Israeli] government," Netanyahu's office said in a statement.
At a forum last week chaired by Moshe Feiglin, head of the far-right Jewish Leadership Party, a delegate asked Ya'alon: "Why should we be afraid of the Americans?"
Ya'alon, who is a former Israel Defense Forces chief of staff and also serves as minister of strategic affairs, told the crowd: "I am not afraid of the Americans" adding, "there are moments where we must say "we've had it up to here'".
Ya'alon also referred to the Israeli anti-settlement organization Peace Now and the so-called Israeli elites as "viruses... causing grave damage to the state of Israel."
The vice premier also warned delegates that the Israeli media "has enough power that if they want, they can influence the prime minister".
When asked what he planned to do to prevent the evacuation of the unauthorized Bnei Adam outpost in the West Bank, Ya'alon responded "in my opinion, Jews can and must be in every corner of the Land of Israel".
Ya'alon made a reference to his years as the top Israel Defense Forces officer, saying "when I was chief of staff, I told several closed forums that any time politicians bring forth the dove of peace, its up to the army to clean up after them".
The far-right Feiglin who failed in his bid to win a spot on the Likud Knesset list in the past elections, told Ya'alon "God willing, we will be able to do great things together".
During a tour of the northern West Bank on Wednesday, Ya'alon urged Israel to consider resettling the settlement of Homesh - evacuated during the 2005 disengagement - calling it a strategic asset in the face of Palestinian terrorism.
The minister then termed the area "significant territory," adding that the disengagement from the Gaza Strip and parts of the northern West Bank in 2005 gave "tailwind to the Islamic jihadism."
Ya'alon is one of Netanyahu's two vice premiers, along with Likud Minister Silvan Shalom.
Likud distances itself from Ya'alon
Peace Now General Secretary Yariv Oppenheimer on Wednesday responded to Ya'alon's statements calling them "dangerous" and adding that "they mark Peace Now as a target".
Senior Likud officials called Ya'alon's comments "a downright shame" that represented "a bizarre alliance between a group of anti-Zionists who support draft dodging and the refusal to follow orders and a former IDF chief of staff."
The officials called on Ya'alon to apologize for remarks and said that his "race to the extreme right will not strengthen his position in the Likud, no matter what he thinks".
Defense Minister Ehud Barak responded to the comments by saying: "Peace Now is an important part of the peace camp and an integral part of the democratic dialogue in Israeli society."
Reuters: "Israeli minister calls anti-settler group a 'virus'"
Wed Aug 19, 2009
JERUSALEM, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu interrupted his summer holiday to say on Wednesday he would summon a senior minister who described left-wing opponents of Jewish settlement building as a "virus".
Netanyahu's office issued a statement after Israel's Channel 2 television broadcast video footage in which Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon was shown making the remark to a forum of Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party.
"Whenever the politicians bring us the peace dove, we as the army have to go in and clean up after them," Yaalon, a former military chief and also a minister of strategic affairs, said.
Replying to a question as to how Yaalon would "rescue" Israel, an allusion to U.S. President Barack Obama's demands to halt settlement construction in occupied land, Yaalon said:
"We are dealing again with a situation where the virus, which is Peace Now, and if you will, the elites, their damage is very great" and that Jews should be permitted to live "forever in all parts of Israel," which would include the West Bank.
Peace Now, a watchdog that lobbies against building Jewish enclaves in territory Israel captured in a 1967 war, argues it is against Israel's security interests to control Palestinians seeking a state, is often the butt of rightist criticism.
Netanyahu's office said the Israeli leader had plans to "summon Minister Yaalon for a private meeting" once he returns from vacation.
Yariv Oppenheimer, a Peace Now leader, called Yaalon's remarks "dangerous and unacceptable" and part of a "government campaign to try and delegitimise left-wing views in the eyes of Israelis."
Ha'aretz: "Vice Premier backtracks after calling Peace Now, elites 'a virus'"
By Barak Ravid, Mazal Mualem and Chaim Levinson
Vice Premier and Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon issued a statement on Thursday night clarifying his criticism earlier in the week of "the elites" and the Peace Now movement.
His latest remarks come after a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Kirya defense compound in Tel Aviv.
At the end of the discussion, Ya'alon said that he "recognized the importance of democratic discourse and respecting other opinions."
After the hour-long meeting in which Netanyahu objected to Ya'alon's statements to Likud's Jewish Leadership Movement faction, the two discussed various policy issues. Ya'alon made clear his points of disagreement with the prime minister.
Netanyahu urged Ya'alon to release a statement saying he backed the prime minister and government policy. Netanyahu personally approved the statement and said he considered the matter closed.
Ya'alon told Netanyahu that as a member of the cabinet and vice premier, he is "a full partner to the formulation of policy and bears collective responsibility for it." Ya'alon also said he had not intended to criticize government policy or Netanyahu personally, and that "if things were interpreted differently, I regret it."
Ya'alon's earlier remarks, which were broadcast on Channel 2 on Wednesday night, roused a storm of protest.
Yaron called "the elites" and Peace Now "a virus" and said that when he was in the army, he used to say that "the politicians brought the dove of peace and the army had to clean up after it."
After the private meeting, the two joined discussions of Israel's key forum of six top cabinet ministers, ahead of Netanyahu's meeting with U.S. Mideast envoy George Mitchell next Wednesday in London.
Ya'alon's associates said the meeting with Netanyahu had been a good one, but that he stood behind his statements to the Jewish Leadership Movement.
Peace Now secretary general Yariv Oppenheimer said on Thursday that Ya'alon's clarifications were "lip service only."
JTA: "Netanyahu meets Ya'alon over 'unacceptable' remarks"
August 20, 2009
JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rebuked his vice premier, Moshe Ya'alon, for calling Peace Now "a virus."
Netanyahu cut short a family vacation to meet with Ya'alon Thursday night in Tel Aviv. Ya'alon reportedly told the prime minister that his remarks were "misinterpreted."
"The remarks made by Minister Ya'alon are unacceptable, neither in their essence nor in their style, and do not represent the government's stance," Netanyahu said in a statement.
Ya'alon, who is Israel's Minister for Strategic Affairs, made the remarks during a meeting last week of the Likud's so-called Jewish Leadership faction, headed by Moshe Feiglin. Ya'alon also said he was "not afraid of the Americans," and, "In my opinion, Jews can and must be in every corner of the Land of Israel." Video clips of the meeting recorded on a cell phone were leaked to Israel's Channel 2.
Ya'alon's office said the minister stands behind his remarks. In a statement released to the media, his office said, "The minister's opinions are known, clear and were written explicitly in his book -- and he stands behind them."
Peace Now General Secretary Yariv Oppenheimer called Ya'alon's statements "dangerous" and said "They mark Peace Now as a target," according to the organization's Web site.
Ya'alon served as the IDF Chief of Staff from 2002 to 2005.