As Ehud Barak, the former Prime Minister and most decorated soldier in Israel’s short but storied history, leaves his post as Defense Minister – a post he was extraordinarily good at – attention around the globe has turned to the man who will replace him: Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon.
Ya’alon, like Barak, is a decorated general and a former Ramatkal – Chief of Staff of the IDF. Ya’alon served as the commander of Israel’s Central Command (which oversees the territory of the West Bank) during the worst part of the 2001-2002 terror war against Israel. In mid-2002 he was promoted to Ramatkal and served in that role until early 2005. His early military career, like most Israeli military leaders, included service in the paratroopers and in Israel’s elite Sayeret Matkal. He spent three years as head of Israel’s military intelligence service. He has been a close advisor on military matters to Prime Minister Netanyahu (who, himself, is a veteran of Sayeret Matkal).
In 2005, Ya’alon opposed Israel’s plan unilaterally to withdraw from the Gaza Strip. That disagreement with then-Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz and the government of Ariel Sharon led to the end of his tenure as IDF Chief.
He is known to believe in dealing with enemies from a position of strength, to have little faith in Palestinian leaders, and once said “there is no way to stabilize the Middle East today without defeating the Iranian regime.” It would be fair to call him a pragmatic hardliner.
The loss of Ehud Barak is a hard one. His steady hand will be missed. But Bogie Ya’alon is as well-prepared as anyone could be to step into this new role. We hope you will join us in praying for him.