Photo: Ido Erez
Defense Minister Ya'alon. American administration's internal auditor on foreign policy?
Photo: Ido Erez
Photo: Michael Kramer
Alon Pinkas
Photo: Michael Kramer

US will not forget Ya'alon's insult

Op-ed: Defense Minister's comments will greatly influence American willingness to listen to Israel on crucial issues like Iran.

The bottom line is that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must fire Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon for the blatant, defiant, unbearable ingratitude he has shown the United States. At the very least, the prime minister should condemn the comments and put Ya'alon in his place.



Netanyahu will not take the first route for political reasons, and because in Israel's political culture, responsibility, discipline and common sense have been replaced with irresponsibility, chatter and arrogance. Netanyahu will not take the second option because he believes the same, and he himself unleashed the irresponsible tongue-lashings of the US in a series of unnecessary rows with President Barack Obama starting in 2009.


Ya'alon is an honest man, a brave soldier, a perfect Israeli patriot. His dismissal is justified by the flawed judgment he has shown, and by his fundamental lack of understanding of the depth and significance of Israel's relations with the US, and its irreplaceable centrality to Israel's national security.


There is no doubt that Ya'alon knows how to recite the clichés about our "special relationship," but he doesn't really understand it. Otherwise he wouldn’t have expressed himself the way that he did, certainly not at a time when the US is reexamining its foreign relationships, and Israel has a clear interest in a strong and engaged America, not an America that has cut itself off from the Middle East.


There have always been disagreements with the US, but an Israeli defense minister has never dared to personally insult an American secretary of state before. And then, several weeks later, to criticize the overall foreign policy of the US, to determine that the US is showing weakness and weakening its allies.


Israel's defense minister not only benefits from $3 billion a year, American vetoes at the Security Council, the Iron Dome system, access to the most advance technologies and intelligence cooperation, he is, it turns out, also the American administration's internal auditor on foreign policy.


This time, Ya'alon did not just offend the secretary of state. He inflicted direct damage on the US, on its ability to show strength in the midst of the crisis in Ukraine. Ya'alon is creating an image of an America that has no influence over its allies. And this is something the US will not take lying down.


The aid won't be cancelled, the pilots will continue training, intelligence information will continue to be passed on. But Israel's defense minister will be perceived as a person who cannot be trusted. That has a real effect on the American willingness to listen seriously to Israel and its defense minister on crucial issues like Iran or the Palestinians.


Alon Pinkas served as Israel's consul general in New York


פרסום ראשון: 03.23.14, 13:12
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