ArensFlash 90

Media personality Yaakov Ahimeir eulogized former Defense Minister Moshe Arens in conversation with Erel Segal on 103 FM.

Ahimeir praised Arens and spoke of the difference between him and Likud members of today: "Moshe Arens died in the heyday of ugliness in Israeli politics. It is precisely in days filled with ugly political maneuvers that his death reminds us that it's possible to do otherwise. He was a different kind of politician. The distance between today's Likud and Arens is enormous.

"I very much doubt Moshe Arens would have succeeded in joining the Likud list today if he were to run. He was by-the-book, restrained, but never gave up his political path and ideology."

Would you say he was much more right-wing than the Right today but less blustering?

"He was more right-wing, but also a human politician: He was a politician who fought for the Arab minority, and especially the Bedouin minority, as he worked for the Bedouin to enlist in the IDF. I think that perhaps what bothered him for the rest of his life was the decision to cancel the Lavi (Israel's fighter jet project)."

Ahimeir noted that while the leftists mention Begin and Jabotinsky, who represent the movement's splendor when they want to criticize Binyamin Netanyahu, "we must mention the name of Moshe Arens, who was popular with all the political factions in the State of Israel. This loss is very difficult, he was loved by his supporters and his rivals. I remember I interviewed him and he was so open, he looked at things in a fascinating way, and he was a particularly outstanding figure on the Israeli right."

Archive footage: Israel's new warplane, the Lavi, successfully carries out first full test flight over Ben Gurion Airport and Jerusalem; Arens visible at 0:12 (3rd rt.) (AP; January 13, 1987):