Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon quits claiming he can't trust Benjamin Netanyahu


Moshe Yaalon has resigned as Israeli defence minister, saying that "Israel, as well as the Likud party, has been taken over by dangerous and extreme elements."

The former Chief of General Staff in the military, who was a member of the prime minister’s Likud party, will also leave the Knesset.

He explained that Likud in its present form "is not the Likud that I joined, of Jabotinsky and Begin,” criticising senior politicians who he said “have chosen incitement as means to hold on to power, rather than uniting the society.”

Avigdor Lieberman, chairman of the right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party, has been offered the defence portfolio and is expected to take over from Mr Yaalon later today, with his party joining the coalition government.

Mr Yaalon, 65, confirmed that his break from politics would be temporary and defended his record at the press conference this morning.

“In every one of my actions and decisions I weighed the safety of Israel and the Israeli people as well as the well-being of the nation above all else,” he said.

“Much to my dismay, recently I have found myself in conflicts of professional and ethical natures with the prime minister as well as with a number of ministers of Knesset.”

In a message posted on Facebook and Twitter this morning, Mr Yaalon cited his “lack of trust” in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his decision to leave the government.

His Knesset space will be taken by Rabbi Yehuda Glick, a controversial activist who was the subject of an attempted assassination in 2014 by an Islamic terrorist over his campaign to expand Jewish access to the Temple Mount.

According to Haaretz, Mr Glick said in a radio interview this morning: “I regret the departure of Yaalon. He is a moral man and an asset to the people of Israel and the Likud,” Haaretz has reported.

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