Nationalists Buoyed by Barak's Resignation
Nationalist politicians are pleased with the news that Defense Minister Ehud Barak is leaving politics.
Ichud Leumi (National Union) Chairman Yaakov Katz (Ketzaleh) said Monday that Barak's presence in the government had always been "unnatural."
Ketzaleh said that it was "the painful split" in religious Zionist political camp that made it possible to push the Ichud Leumi out of the coalition, despite the fact that it was the natural partner to Likud. As a result, Barak joined the coalition and brought his anti-settlement policies with him.
Ketzaleh explained that things will change now that the religious camp is running in a joint list. "With the joint Ichud Leumi – Bayit Yehudi party as the main pillar of the next government and its source of courage, a new age will be heralded in which bravery and security replace weakness and defeat."
Minister Yuli Edelstein (Likud) said, "Today is Likud's independence day. Barak will go down in the history of Israel's governments as the worst defense minister that the Jewish settlement enterprise ever had."
"Barak's behavior is full of political and egotistic considerations, and he does all this on the backs of the settlers," Edelstein accused.
Likud Minister Gilad Erdan said that Barak had contributed to national security over many years, "and when people like that leave, it is a sad thing." However, he added, "I prefer that the defense minister in the next government will have a nationalist approach."
MKs Michael Ben Ari and Aryeh Eldad of Power for Israel called on the government to approve all of the construction projects in Judea and Samaria that Barak, who had to sign building permits as Defense Minister, has been blocking for years. Otherwise, they said, "this will prove that Barak was just a fig leaf and that the prime minister is responsible for the ill treatment of the settlers."
Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) Chairman Naftali Bennett noted that Barak has made a huge contribution to the state "and many of us owe him our lives." He added, though, that these days are "the last days of the old politics, which caused us, the reservist soldiers, and the residents of the South, to feel great sorrow only last week."
"I call on Netanyahu to announce that the next government will have a defense minister who is committed to defense and security for Israel without compromise. The brave residents of the South deserve this."