MESOP Arguments & Analysis – “Netanyahu vs. the Generals” (Amir Tibon, Politico Magazine)

“By placing the hawkish Lieberman in the Defense Ministry, Netanyahu has seriously undercut the security establishment, the most important moderating force within Israel’s power structure. Lieberman’s predecessor, Lt. General (ret.) Moshe Ya’alon, was also affiliated with the right wing in Israel (he is still a registered member of the Likud party), but as a former general himself, he encouraged those serving under him to speak their minds freely and openly, even if their analysis contradicted that of the elected government. In the months leading to his removal from the Defense Ministry, Ya’alon gave backing to the IDF senior command on a number of occasions in which the generals clashed with other cabinet members from the right wing, mainly over the question of how much force Israel should use in retaliation to Palestinian terror attacks.

Lieberman, who was still in opposition in parliament during that period, took the side of the most extremist ministers in the government, advocating policies that, if implemented, would highly increase the likelihood of war. Now the next U.S. administration will find itself facing a new balance of power in Israel, between the most right-wing government in decades and the traditionally more moderate security establishment — one in which the extremists, at least for the moment, have triumphed.” Read more