The Ya’alon legacy: a doctrine of failure

Tuvia Brodie,

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Tuvia Brodie
Tuvia Brodie has a PhD from the University of Pittsburgh under the name Philip Brodie. He has worked for the University of Pittsburgh, Chatham College and American Express. He and his wife made aliyah in 2010. All of his children have followed. He believes in Israel's right to exist. He believes that the words of Tanach (the Jewish Bible) are meant for us. His blog address is He usually publishes 3-4 times a week on his blog and 1-3 times at Arutz Sheva. Please check the blog regularly for new posts.

The recent firing of Israel Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon (Likud) has highlighted the legacy that Ya’alon leaves behind. It’s a legacy of failure.  

But it’s a legacy Israel’s Left loves. It can’t praise Ya’alon enough.  

For the Left, Ya’alon was a real ‘manager’. He ’managed’ Israel’s borders. He ‘managed’ Israel’s ‘settler’ activists. He ‘managed’ Jewish ‘extremists’. He ‘managed’ the 2014 Gaza war. He ‘managed’ Israel’s response to the recent flurry of terrorism that included a ‘knife intifada’, ‘child intifada’ and a ‘car intifada’.

Israel’s Left praises Ya’alon for his Defense stewardship (Judah Ari Gross, “What will replace the Ya’alon doctrine”, timesofisrael, May 22, 2016). The Left particularly loves Ya’alon’s ‘doctrine of management’. It believes that this doctrine of management will be the true Ya’alon legacy.  

This ‘doctrine’ may indeed be his legacy. But it was why he failed as Defense Minister. His 'doctrine' was, in the end, characterized more by a commitment to appeasement than by any kind of ‘military wisdom’ (see Moshe Feiglin, “MK Liberman's appointment as Defense Minister”, Arutz Sheva, May 19, 2016). True, Feiglin didn’t focus on the word, ‘appeasement’. But ‘appeasement’ oozes from between the lines of his essay.

Israel will not survive with a policy of containment or appeasement. It can’t survive, because the Arab enemy before us does not see appeasement or containment as either ‘wisdom’ or ‘diplomacy’. It sees being ‘contained’ as an insult. It sees appeasement as cowardice.

Because of Ya’alon’s doctrine of containment and appeasement, Israel’s enemies grew more aggressive, not weaker. They saw how Ya’alon’s ‘management’ allowed intifada and continuous Hamas-like pressure to eat away at Israel’s will to fight.

Israel’s Left may praise such a doctrine. But a doctrine that makes Israel cautious when the enemy attacks does not make Israel a formidable foe. It makes Israel an easier target.  

Moshe Ya’alon as Defense Minister has acted in ways to protect Arab terrorists at the expense of Jewish defenders (“Ya'alon Demoralizing the IDF”, shilohmusings, April 10, 2016). He has rushed to condemn Jews by branding Jewish youth as ‘Jewish terrorists’—even when no proof existed to validate that claim (“Ya'alon: We will not allow Jewish terrorists to harm Palestinians”, jerusalempost, July 31, 2015). He has rushed to condemn an IDF soldier for the death of an Arab terrorist during an incident where the terrorist could have been moving to detonate a suicide bomb (Ben Caspit, “Why Israelis are defending IDF soldier who shot Palestinian attacker”, almonitor, March 28, 2016).

Ya’alon didn’t defend Israel with strength. He defended 'democracy' by turning against Jews.  

In Israel, whose very existence is threatened every day (Elad Benari, “Iranian official: We can destroy Israel 'in eight minutes'”, Arutz Sheva, May 24, 2016), a Defense Minister does not have the mandate to turn against Jews. His mandate is to make certain that Israel’s enemies are afraid to attack Israel. His fatal flaw was that his so-called ‘doctrine’ wasn’t designed to win the war against our enemies. It was designed only to ‘manage’ that war.

‘Managing’ doesn’t win wars. ‘Management’ only supervise or oversees. By definition, ‘management’ will never end war. Its effect is to perpetuate war.

That’s what Ya’alon did in Gaza in 2014. He didn’t fight to win. He fought to ‘quiet’ the Gaza border.

Ya’alon’s doctrine brought Israel to a new low. He didn’t protect Israel. He didn’t protect Jews. His doctrine of passivity didn't frighten our enemies. It encouraged them.

Under Ya’alon, our enemies saw him arresting and detaining Jews without due process. They saw him allowing Jews to be tortured. They saw him war against Jews, not Jew-hating Arabs.

That be‎haviour will never make our enemies afraid to attack us. But it can give our enemies reason to celebrate. 

Ya’alon’s ‘doctrine’ weakened Israel. It made Israel hesitate against Gaza. It made Israel hesitate against the aggressive reign of terror Arabs began September, 2015, a hesitation that facilitated the murder of more than two dozen Jews and the wounding/traumatization of hundreds more .

That’s the legacy of the Ya’alon doctrine. It’s a ‘doctrine’ that didn’t defend Israel from attack or make Israel safe. It made Israel afraid to fight.

In the end, Ya’alon’s personal beliefs ruined him. He chose to defend a deputy IDF Chief of Staff—one of Israel’s highest ranking military officers—against criticism for having compared Israel to Nazi Germany (“Netanyahu gives Ya'alon a sharp reprimand on Nazi comparison”, Arutz Sheva, May 5, 2016).

This ‘Nazi’ comparison is a staple of the Arab Jew-hate industry. It is unbelievable that a ranking IDF General would use an enemy’s Nazi image to criticize his own nation--on Holocaust Day, no less. It’s unconscionable that Ya’alon should defend any IDF soldier’s use of such a Jew-hate reference.

Moshe Ya’alon didn’t stand up for his country. He stood up for Israel-as-Nazi.

He didn’t make his country strong. He created a legacy of failure. No wonder he was fired.