Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Sunday appointed former Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon, 63, defense minister in his new coalition government which is due to be sworn in Monday.
During his long military service, Yaalon was a member of IDF elite paratroop units and rose to become one of the most outstanding commanders of Sayeret Matkal. In politics, Yaalon has proved the holder of strong and independent views on security matters. As Strategic Affairs Minister and Vice Prime Minister in the outgoing government, Yaalon made no bones about criticizing the prime minister and his predecessor as defense minister Ehud Barak. In particular he took exception to their timeline for an Israeli attack to preempt a nuclear Iran.
The new defense minister fought former prime minister Ariel Sharon’s decision to evacuate the Gaza Strip in 2005 and to this day blames this decision for turning the Hamas-ruled enclave into a major strategic threat to Israel.