Likud MK Moshe ‘Bogie’ Ya’alon, 62, has been appointed to be the country’s new defense minister as PM Binyamin Netanyahu assigned portfolios Sunday morning.
"In a period so critical to the security of the state of Israel, with all the region around us in turmoil, it is important that this position be filled by a man so rich in experience as Moshe Yaalon," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement released by the party. "In the name of all the citizens of Israel, I wish him success."
The former IDF chief of staff served during the 1973 Yom Kippur War as a reservist and then re-enlisted, joining the Paratroopers Brigades and the elite Sayeret Matkal unit.
Ya’alon became head of Military Intelligence in 1995 and moved up to become commander of Israel’s Central Command in 1998, where he was serving when the Second Intifada, or Oslo War broke out in the year 2000. Ya’alon was appointed IDF chief of staff in 2002 and served until June 2005.
The former army chief of staff ended his term just six weeks before the government carried out its infamous Disengagement from Gaza in which the army was forced to help expel nearly 10,000 Jews from their homes in the Gush Katif region of Gaza and northern Samaria (Shomron) – a decision by then-Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz that Ya’alon had disagreed with.
Ya’alon subsequently became a member of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and a Senior Fellow at the Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies at the Shalem Center Institute for International and Middle East Studies. He also serves as the chairman of the Center for Jewish Identity and Culture at Beit Morasha in Jerusalem.
Other Likud members on the list to receive ministerial posts included MK Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz and Sport and Culture Minister Limor Livnat, both of whom are keeping their jobs.
MK Danny Danon has accepted the post of Deputy Defense Minister, while Chaim Katz has agreed to continue on as chairman of the Knesset Labor, Health and Welfare Committee.
Outgoing Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz reportedly will move to the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, but it is not yet clear who will receive the Interior Ministry. The two most likely candidates are outgoing Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar, or MK Gilad Erdan. MK Yariv Levin has been asked to be the next coalition chairman, but there has been no information on whether he has accepted. Former coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin is reportedly to be asked to become deputy foreign minister, at the request of Yisrael Beytenu former chairman Avigdor Liberman, in the midst of legal proceedings. The post of foreign minister is being held for Liberman, who held the post prior to the court action, in accordance with a promise made by Netanyahu in advance of the elections.