Likud minister: Moshe Ya'alon is trampling the rule of law

Tourism Minister Levin slams former Defense Minister Ya'alon, says he is not 'prosecutor, judge, and executor.'

Chana Roberts,

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

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin (Likud) slammed former Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon for his criticism of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the Israeli government.

"Ya'alon is trampling the rule of law, in the most vulgar manner possible. We are a democratic country. We are not a place where a retired general [Ya'alon - ed.] is prosecutor, judge, and executor," Levin told Reshet Bet in an interview.

In an interview Thursday with Reshet Bet, Ya'alon said the reason none of the ministers has taken a stance against Netanyahu is due to "political considerations."

"Anyone who takes such a step will pay a price," he explained. "During my time [as minister], I was prepared to pay that price, when I understood the things I understood. Everyone is different, and I am a person who needs to look at himself in the mirror every day. Some people say I made a mistake...I don't really care. I don't really think it's a political question."

"There's very dangerous moral degeneration here, with long-term consequences. And it isn't even a question of yes Netanyahu or no Netanyahu."

Regarding Netanyahu's recent speech, Ya'alon said Netanyahu is "humiliating and embarrassing" and acts like an "escaped criminal" who is "willing to burn the country for his own political survival." He also said Netanyahu is trying to "sell the narrative" that the entire country is against him, and that he is a victim.

"Enough! Enough!" Ya'alon exclaimed. "You don't see that there's fire here, and not just smoke? For some time already, I've been saying that it doesn't matter if there's a criminal issue or not - look at his speech, how he attacks the police and the Supreme Court - enough already!"

In Netanyahu's speech earlier this week, he noted the fact that about 60% of the time, police recommendations "end up in the trash." Netanyahu said that these cases "start with explosive headlines" and "end with nothing," but the people accused are "destroyed and their blood is being shed."

In May 2016, Ya'alon condemned IDF soldier Elor Azariya for shooting a terrorist suspected of wearing an explosive vest, this before the investigation began. He later interfered in the case, and compared the soldier to ISIS terrorists.

This is one of the reasons Netanyahu handed the Defense Ministry over to current Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu), leading Ya'alon to quit the Knesset. Yaalon's deputy expressed fear that IDF behavior would become simillar to that of the Nazis on Holocaust Remembrance Day. Ya'alon did not reprimand him, and most people saw that as sufficient reason to release him from his post as Defense Minister.

In March 2017, Ya'alon quit the Likud to form a new political party. Since then, he has slammed Netanyahu several times, emphasizing his opinion that Netanyahu is not fit to lead and that Ya'alon himself will create a party list and run for prime minister.

However, according to polls, Ya'alon's new party will not garner enough votes to pass the electoral threshhold needed to enter the Knesset.

You can listen to the full Hebrew interview here:

השר לשעבר @bogie_yaalon בביקורת חריפה על נאום רה"מ: "הוא מתנהג כמו עבריין נמלט שמוכן לשרוף את המדינה בשביל ההישרדות הפוליטית שלו"#צבריוקיטל

— כאן | רשת ב (@ReshetBet) December 21, 2017