Former defense minister Ya’alon officially quits Likud
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Former defense minister Ya’alon officially quits Likud

Ya’alon, who left the government last year, is set to establish his own party and challenge Netanyahu in the next elections

Jacob Magid is the settlements correspondent for The Times of Israel.

Former Israeli defense minister Moshe 'Bogie' Ya'alon speaks at the Hebrew University, on January 18, 2017. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Former Israeli defense minister Moshe 'Bogie' Ya'alon speaks at the Hebrew University, on January 18, 2017. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Former defense minister Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon on Sunday formally submitted his resignation from the Likud, as he gears up to form his own party and challenge Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In a one-sentence letter sent to the Likud headquarters, Ya’alon asked to “cancel his membership in the Likud movement,” ending his political relationship with the party he joined more than eight years ago.

Speaking earlier, Ya’alon said he remains loyal to the way of Likud party founders Ze’ev Jabotinsky and Menachem Begin, but said that the party has “changed its face.”

Amidst wide-spread speculation that he would be fired by Netanyahu, Ya’alon quit his defense minister posting in May 2016.

In his resignation speech, he said that “extremist and dangerous forces have taken over Israel and the Likud movement and are destabilizing our home and threatening to harm its inhabitants.”

Ya’alon said at the time he would take a break from politics but intended to return to public office. Less than a month later, he announced his intention to run for prime minister in the next elections.

Last week he revealed plans to form his own party, which would represent the “responsible right.”

Ya’alon, a former IDF chief of staff, joined the Likud in November 2008, serving the party in the Knesset from 2009 to 2016, the last four years of which he was defense minister.

Moshe Ya'alon in the Knesset on March 28, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Moshe Ya’alon in the Knesset on March 28, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Also Sunday, Ya’alon responded to a Friday Channel 2 survey poll which showed his unnamed new party would garner four seats in the Knesset, and could potentially serve as one of a group of parties that could muster 60 seats and prevent Netanyahu from forming the next government.

He said he wouldn’t be the one that would prevent the formation of a right-wing government.

“The attempt to connect him (Ya’alon) with the left-wing preventative bloc along with the Joint (Arab) List is ridiculous. Bogie (represents) the sane, responsible right,” a statement from his office added.

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