True, the defense minister's choice of the words "obsessive" and "messianic" to describe the American secretary of state may not be graceful, but these statements include something refreshing and much more important than manners – a direct and sincere dialogue with the citizens of Israel.
Our negotiations with the Palestinians, in which the most sensitive issues relating to Israel's security are being discussed, are taking place these days in an insulting lack of transparency. US Secretary of State John Kerry, so it seems, has almost completely adopted the Palestinian stance, and that is the background for the harsh statements made by Ya'alon in private conversations with sources in the United States.
The outline of the agreement they are suggesting may end in a security disaster for Israel, but if we insist on our vital interests they will see us as responsible for the talks' failure. And if this is the situation, it's no wonder that the defense minister is furious.
But Ya'alon's statements conceal an additional message, which is not directed at the US but actually at Jerusalem – and at those responsible for the talks with Kerry. In fact, Ya'alon is suggesting that Netanyahu and Livni stop panicking, stop playing "make believe" and start sharing with the Israeli public what is happening behind the scenes of the negotiations, or to be precise – what is not happening.
The defense minister argues that in practice there are no negotiations taking place right now, because Abbas refuses to recognize Israel as the Jewish nation state, refuses to give up on the right of return and refuses to sign an agreement which will bring all claims to an end. This truth may be painful, but someone has to say it – and that's what Ya'alon did.
Like the late Ariel Sharon, Ya'alon also belongs to the group of officers who fought courageously and risked their lives for our continued existence here, and he does not need anyone to defend his statements regarding the security issues. If he asserts that technological means will not stop terrorist cells from crossing the Jordan River or getting organized in Nablus, it's difficult to doubt him.
In addition, it's no secret that Netanyahu thinks the exact same thing. But Ya'alon, as opposed to Netanyahu, is unwilling to be part of the bluff under which the talks with the American secretary of state are being held.
The harsh statements voiced by Ya'alon brought back memories of two prime ministers who were not afraid to voice their opinion about the American administration leaders in public – Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir. And saying the truth, even if it's sometimes embarrassing and painful, is preferable to a sinuous wriggle which ends with both sides looking bad.