Ya’alon Reaches Out to Donors In Preparation For Potential Run Against Netanyahu

PHOTO: REUTERS

PHOTO: REUTERS


Former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon has begun the first phase of launching a potential run for prime minister as head of a new political party, or by forming an alliance with former disgruntled colleagues, by reaching out to potential donors in a letter sent in English and independently obtained by Jewish Insider.

“I entered politics out of a sense of commitment to the State of Israel and its security and for this reason I am not considering quitting the public or political arena,” Ya’alon, who resigned from the Netanyahu government earlier this month, wrote. “I regard this period as a ‘time-out’ after which I intend to return and run for Israel’s national leadership.”

In a move that shocked the political world and his colleagues in the Likud Party, Ya’alon resigned from the cabinet and the Knesset after negotiations with Yisrael Beiteinu advanced and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered his long-time rival Avigdor Lieberman the defense portfolio.

Ya’alon explained the surprising move by refusing to “sacrifice the needs of our nation or the security of our citizens in favor of political or personal agendas.”

He added, “Of late I have found myself in disagreement with the Prime Minister and with certain ministers and members of the Knesset over a number of fundamental issues both morally and professionally. I am saddened to witness the fact that a small and extreme minority are taking over sectors of the Likud party and influencing parts of Israel’s complex society. It is unfortunate that some of Israel’s most senior politicians have chosen the path of separation and incitement instead of reducing the flames of conflict.”

Ya’alon concluded his letter by thanking his donors for their support over the years, adding, “I sincerely hope that we will keep in touch, and hope that you will always feel free to continue to remain in contact with me in the future.”

The content of the letter was first reported by The Jerusalem Post.

A poll published on Friday showed that if elections to the Knesset were held now, a new party headed by Ya’alon, former Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar and by Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, would win 25 seats. That would put the new party ahead of Netanyahu’s Likud, which would fall to 21 seats from its current 30.

Ya’alon raised 1,167,503.48 shekels from 201 contributors for the Likud primaries since 2008. Top U.S. donors include the Falic family, Ken Bialkin, Ken Abramowitz, Adam Milstein, Melvin Salberg, Lawrence Feigen, Eric Mandel, the Asher family, David Kronfeld, among others.

Read the full letter below:

Dear Friend ,

I hope this letter finds you in good health.

About a week ago, I informed the Prime Minister that I wished to tender my resignation as a member of the Government and of the Knesset.

I entered politics out of a sense of commitment to the State of Israel and its security and for this reason I am not considering quitting the public or political arena. I regard this period as a “time-out” after which I intend to return and run for Israel’s national leadership.

In the past in whichever capacity I served whether in uniform or in the Cabinet as a Minister I have always had Israel’s best interests in mind particularly pertaining to her security. I have always refused to sacrifice the needs of our nation or the security of our citizens in favor of political or personal agendas.

I worked closely with the Prime Minister in a most professional and practical manner for a lengthy period time .This mutual co-operation was most effective while leading “Operation Protective Edge” and for this I thank him . Of late I have found myself in disagreement with the Prime Minister and with certain ministers and members of the Knesset over a number of fundamental issues both morally and professionally.

I am saddened to witness the fact that a small and extreme minority are taking over sectors of the Likud party and influencing parts of Israel’s complex society.

It is unfortunate that some of Israel’s most senior politicians have chosen the path of separation and incitement instead of reducing the flames of conflict. A strong leadership should be driven by a sense of moral standards and this path should be pursued even in the face of opposition. When leadership is driven by electoral considerations and swayed by public opinion this is an avenue I can no longer traverse with a clear conscience.

I do not regret the moral and professional stand that I took and am unwilling to alter my opinions . I realize the personal cost – ending my position as Minister of Defense.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your friendship and support over the years and sincerely hope that we will keep in touch.

I have always considered the naturally strong bond between Israel and World Jewry of prime importance. It is vital to the State of Israel and I am personally very grateful for all you have done and are continuing to do to strengthen that bond.

In conclusion – on a more personal note may I express my appreciation for your friendship and hope that you will always feel free to continue to remain in contact with me in the future.

With best regards

Moshe (Bogie) Ya’alon


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