JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israel has lost its “moral compass,” Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said in his first public statements since the news broke that he may lose his cabinet position to Avigdor Liberman.
“We need to steer the country in accordance with one’s conscious and not whichever way the wind is blowing,” Ya’alon said Thursday in a speech to leaders of the country’s youth movements, urging them to lead based on a compass and not a weather vane.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday offered Liberman, head of the hardline Yisrael Beiteinu Party, the Defense Ministry in order to induce his party and their six Knesset seats to join the government coalition. Ya’alon reportedly will be offered the position of foreign minister, a portfolio that currently is held by Netanyahu, though Ya’alon has said that no one has spoken to him about such a move.
Ya’alon reportedly did not mention Netanyahu or Liberman by name in his speech to the youth leaders.
Ya’alon said he has been attacked with intense criticism from people who “in full volume attack our basic values.” He also reportedly said he has not been surprised by recent events.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority Foreign Ministry said Thursday that the news that Liberman would soon join the government “confirms the lack of a peace partner in Israel.”