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Mr. Ya’alon discussed the current climate of the Middle East and emphasized that it was not a colorful situation. What he saw as the biggest crisis in the Middle East was the artificial nation state system that currently exists and how it imposes democracy in the Middle East by elections. He added that the West, particularly America, is trying to impose democracy in a region that has no culture for it. He expanded on his comments by describing the current status of Israel’s neighbors and the contradictory behavior that is against the values of the West, such as Turkey and it’s behavior that it is a member of NATO yet it purchases gas from ISIS since ISIS was anti-Kurdish and also challenged Europe by pushing refugees towards Europe.
Mr Ya’alon explained that from a military perspective, Israel avoids intervening in certain regional conflicts. He believes there is no way to re-unify Syria and while Israel will offer aid to Syrian towns along the border, generally Israel has no interests in taking part in the Syrian conflict. He also made it very clear that the prospect for a two-state solution in this current time is currently impossible, and while Israel is committed to keeping calm in the region and making sure Palestinians keep their dignity. He sees the only approach for a solution between the Israelis and Palestinians is from a bottom-up approach, taking everything step by step. That we need to avoid short cuts and find solutions with the support of our allies. He stressed that it is important to consider U.S and EU interests as part of a grand strategy in order to enhance the interests of all those involved making peace in the region.
Bogie Ya’alon’s speech was followed by questions and answers from the participants and from the Moderator, Jonathan Javor from the Tel Aviv Salon. Questions were asked about the U.S Israel relationship as he sees it. Mr. Ya’alon did point out that he believed that the U.S should lead the grand strategy for the conflict in Israel. He also explained his position on how the enquiry on Operation protective edge was brought to the media. He pointed out that politicians in Israel walk a very fine line with their responsibility as a lawmaker and how they spin it in the media, he believes it provides a disserve to the public by the drama they attach to very responsible decisions made by the leadership.
The intention for Ya’alon to start another party was also discussed. Ya’alon talked about how politics in Israel are shifting and how traditional moderate to conservative voices are now being seen as liberal and lefty thinkers. His reasoning for resigning was that he found himself on the other side of corruption and that he could not be in a top leadership position and looks himself in the mirror with what was happening. He also discussed that while as a leader, he wants to promote Jewish values and to love our neighbors he also sees a world that is changing and he must keep that into consideration. He has observed that these days it’s about being the loudest voice and the most extreme voice. He commented that in order to be a leader, you must have a compass, a vision and he feels it is being lost with modern politics and the role of media and social media.