Former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe "Bogey" Yaalon is expected to hold a joint news conference with Likud head Binyamin Netanyahu and announce that he is joining the party's ranks, according to a report in Ma'ariv/NRG Sunday.

Yaalon enjoys a relatively high degree of popularity in Israel, as well as a crystal-clean reputation. Netanyahu is said to be very interested in him as a member of his list, but Yaalon has been wavering until now, saying that he is not sure that he wants to enter politics at all.

According to several Likud Knesset Members, Yaalon told Netanyahu in the past that he would only join the Likud if he received a guarantee of his placement in the party's Knesset list. However, the Likud's Central Committee convened Sunday to decide upon the procedure for the upcoming primaries, and was expected to rule out guarantees of placement for 'star' candidates like Yaalon. Only placement for new immigrants and women will be guaranteed.

Opposed Disengagement

Yaalon was appointed Chief of Staff at the height of the Oslo War in 2002 and stepped down in 2004 when then-Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz refused to extend his term of service by a year, because of Yaalon's opposition to the Disengagement from Gaza.

In a book he published recently, Yaalon was extremely critical of the Disengagement and said that then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon carried it out because he wished to evade a criminal investigation.

National Union/National Religious Party representatives also contacted Yaalon and asked him to head the new united nationalist Knesset list, without the need for primaries. Israel National News has learned that Ya'alon has not given an answer to the offer until now.

Another contender for the Likud list is Attorney Ehud Danoch, the former Consul-General in Los Angeles. During the Second Lebanon War, Danoch spearheaded a high-profile campaign of public support which included more than 80 Hollywood stars, including current California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Adam Sandler.