Coalition drama
Ya'alon vs Jewish Home: 'Unprecedented abandon'

Political football on shooting continues, as Defense Minister charges Bennett's party with 'populist, political campaign of incitement.'

Ido Ben-Porat ,

Moshe Ya'alon
Moshe Ya'alon
Miriam Alster/Flash 90

The drama continued Sunday following off on a tense face-off between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon (Likud) on one side and Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) on the other during a morning Cabinet meeting.

The two sides bickered over the case of an IDF soldier filmed shooting a wounded terrorist in Hevron last Thursday, minutes after the latter stabbed and wounded a soldier. Later on Sunday the ministers continued to play political football with the matter, as Ya'alon censured Bennett and his Jewish Home party for giving the soldier support.

"In recent days irresponsible ministers and Knesset members have waged a campaign of incitement against the IDF, the Chief of Staff and senior officials which is unprecedented in its severity," said Ya'alon.

"Instead of national responsibility they demonstrate unprecedented abandonment, out of political and cynical motives, even at the cost of harm to the IDF, its soldiers and commanders, as well as harming the national security of the state of Israel," charged the minister.

Without naming which Jewish Home members he was referring to, Ya'alon accused the party at large, saying, "in this campaign of criticism it isn't the IDF that stands before their eyes, or its defense, but rather populist and internet commentator considerations."

He went on to praise IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot, saying he is leading the troops in a firm war against Arab terror.

"I give him and the IDF soldiers full backing in their complex daily activities. When it is necessary to investigate we do that, and all cynical political involvement in the matters of operational investigation...or open-fire orders are destructive to the IDF and harm, first and foremost, the soldiers and the commanders."

Ya'alon warned that "those who incite against the Chief of Staff should not be surprised to find derisive signs against him. Those who heat things up and use hints to encourage breaching the law only to satisfy a radical and violent minority - they will bring us to anarchy."

"The sane forces in the state of Israel, from the right and the left, need to unify against this evil advance and check it," he concluded.