'PM Didn't Promise Bennett the Defense Ministry'

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon says that PM Netanyahu denied rumors that he offered the post to Jewish Home chairman.

Elad Benari, Canada,

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon
Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon
Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu did not promise Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett that he will be appointed as defense minister after the elections, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon told Channel 2 News on Friday.

"I do not deal with speculations, I am the Minister of Defense until the end of this government's term. There were rumors that Netanyahu allegedly promised Bennett that he would be the next defense minister and these rumors have been denied by Netanyahu. I made sure that what was being spread around is not true," Ya'alon said, referring to his conversation with Netanyahu earlier this week, in which he demanded clarity over the reports that Netanyahu plans to offer the position to Bennett.

"Anyone who is looking at the past two years in which I have been Minister of Defense, understands that this job requires experience, responsibility and judgment - and that’s what needs to be put to the test in the coming elections," he told Channel 2 News.

"The current leadership withstood tests that the people of Israel may not be aware of. And I'm not necessarily talking about Operation Protective Edge. It is not an obvious thing that the borders with Lebanon and Syria are quiet. There is diplomatic work being done by the Prime Minister behind the scenes,” said Ya’alon.

Ya'alon is considered one of Netanyahu's most loyal ministers, especially since the two cooperated together closely on Operation Protective Edge over the summer.

In Friday’s interview, the Defense Minister also responded to the comments he made earlier this week when asked about the construction freeze in Judea and Samaria, to which he responded by blaming President Barack Obama, noting that pressure from Obama led to the freeze, and adding, "but this administration won't last forever."

The United States later responded to Ya’alon and State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that objection to “settlements” was longstanding and would not change after Obama leaves office in 2017.

"The conflict regarding the construction is part of the friction with Washington. When you are navigating, you need to stray a bit out of the way in order to get back on track,” Ya’alon said Friday.

He described the security situation in Israel these days as “reasonable”, saying, "A decade ago there were suicide attacks every few days, the security situation today is reasonable. There is no peace, but the situation is reasonable. We thwart attempts by terrorist organizations to carry out attacks. The policy we are conducting is based on experience, responsibility and judgment. Look back at the last six years.”

Finally, Ya’alon referred to the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) threats to end security cooperation with Israel over the death of senior minister Ziad Abu Ein, which the PA blamed on Israel despite an autopsy which confirmed the minister died of heart failure.

“Ending the security coordination is a more significant threat to the PA than to us. The coordination has not ended and the connection is maintained," he said.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)