Moshe Yaalon declares intention to run for prime minister


Former Israeli defence minister Moshe Yaalon has declared his intention to run for prime minister.

Speaking at the Herzliya conference on Thursday, Mr Yaalon’s announcement sparked loud applause.

Mr Yaalon, not known for highly emotional speeches, also lashed out at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

He attacked what he described as a scaremongering, racist, socially divisive, Netanyahu government.

"The Iranian nuclear programme, which was put on ice after the agreement, does not constitute an imminent existential threat to Israel, which is limited during the period of the agreement, and we have to prepare for future events," said Mr Ya'alon.

He claimed that Mr Netanyahu had used the Iran issue to try to distract Israelis from domestic problems.

"At this time and in the foreseeable future, there is no existential threat to Israel. It is the strongest state in the region and there is an enormous gap with every country and organisation around it. Therefore, it is appropriate for the leadership in Israel to cease scaring the citizens and to stop telling them that we are on the verge of a second Holocaust,” he said.

He continued: "It is mistaken to think that if we fill citizens with fear it will make them forget the corruption, the social gaps, the high cost of living and other challenges at the doorstep of the leadership," he said.

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