MK defends 'professional, responsible' Ya'alon

MK Moti Yogev 'uncomfortable' with prospect of Avigdor Liberman replacing Moshe Ya'alon as Defense Minister.

Hezki Baruch,

MK Motti Yogev
MK Motti Yogev
Miriam Alster/Flash 90

MK Moti Yogev (Jewish Home) defended current Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon Wednesday, amid reports that he would be replaced by Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman. 

Yogev said that while he "welcomes any expansion of the government, and more unity in Israel," the idea of replacing Ya'alon is something he is "uncomfortable with." 

"Minister Moshe Ya'alon is a professional defense minister and a responsible man [...] who has worked for many years for Israeli security and encouraged settlement [in Judea and Samaria]," he said. 

Netanyahu indeed has offered Liberman's party the Defense and Aliyah Ministries, in a sudden move after stalled unity talks with the Zionist Union's Yitzhak Herzog. 

The dramatic developments come in the aftermath of a press conference held earlier on Wednesday by Liberman, in which he leveled his demands for bringing his party into the government, and challenged the prime minister to contact him if indeed he was serious about talks. Apart from the defense ministry, Liberman is also demanding that the government endorse a bill requiring the death penalty for terrorist murderers, along with a number of sweeping pension reforms.

Netanyahu was quick to respond: offering Liberman a face-to-face meeting to begin the negotiation process.