Israel’s defense chief, possibly on his way out, says nation has lost ‘moral compass’


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel has lost its “moral compass,” Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said Thursday 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 conscience and not whichever way the wind is blowing,” Yaalon said in a speech to leaders of the country’s youth movements.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday offered Liberman, head of the hard-line Yisrael Beiteinu party, the Defense Ministry to induce his party with its six Knesset seats to join the government coalition. Yaalon reportedly will be offered the position of foreign minister, a portfolio that is held by Netanyahu, though Yaalon has said no one has spoken to him about such a move.

Yaalon reportedly did not mention Netanyahu or Liberman by name in his speech to the youth leaders.

Yaalon 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.”

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