Ex-General Yaalon named as Israeli defense minister


Reuters

JERUSALEM–Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chose Moshe Yaalon, a right-wing former armed forces chief, to be Israel’s defense minister on Sunday, saying his experience was needed to tackle challenges in a turbulent Middle East. Yaalon, 62, belongs to Netanyahu’s Likud party and spent the past four years in his inner circle of ministers, publicly backing his reluctance to give up the occupied West Bank and make way for a Palestinian state.

The former general has also supported the premier’s threats to attack Iranian nuclear sites — though, behind closed doors, officials say he has urged Netanyahu to give U.S.-led diplomatic pressure on Tehran more time.

“At such a decisive time for the security of the State of Israel, when the region all around us is stormy, it is important to have a man who is rich in experience, like Moshe Yaalon, in this post,” Netanyahu said in a statement.