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Moshe "Bogie" Ya'alon ( ; born Moshe Smilansky on 24 June 1950) is an Israelimarker politician and former Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces. He currently serves as a member of the Knessetmarker for Likud, as well as the country's Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Strategic Affairs.


Ya'alon was born as Moshe Smilansky and grew up in Kiryat Haimmarker, a working class suburb of Haifamarker. He was active in the Labor Zionist youth movement "HaNoar HaOved VeHaLomed" and joined a Nahal group named Ya'alon, a name he later adopted. His military service between 1968 and 1971 was in the nahal, and he later became a member of kibutz Grofitmarker in the Arabahmarker region near Eilatmarker.

Military career

Following the Yom Kippur War in 1973, where Ya'alon served as a reservist, he rejoined the IDF and served in the Paratroopers Brigade and Sayeret Matkal.

Ya'alon was appointed a head of Military Intelligence in 1995 and commanding officer of Israel's Central Command, responsible for the West Bank, in 1998. He was in this position when the Second Intifada was launched in September 2000. He was appointed Chief of Staff on 9 July 2002, and served in that position until 1 June 2005. The major focus throughout his service was the army's effort to quell the Second Intifada.

Ya'alon's public pronouncements have been controversial. For example he told the Haaretz newspaper on 27 August 2002; "The Palestinian threat harbours cancer-like attributes that have to be severed. There are all kinds of solutions to cancer. Some say it's necessary to amputate organs but at the moment I am applying chemotherapy." In January 2004, he publicly stated that the 13 Sayeret Matkal soldiers who refused to serve in the Israeli-occupied territories were taking the unit's name in vain.

In February 2005, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz decided not to prolong Ya'alon's service as Chief of Staff for another year. This marked the climax of tensions between Mofaz and Ya'alon, which had arisen partly through Ya'alon's objection to the Gaza disengagement plan. On 1 June 2005, Ya'alon ended his military service and Dan Halutz, his successor, oversaw the disengagement.

In December 2005, relatives of the victims of the 1996 shelling of Qana filed suit against Ya'alon in Washington, D.C.marker, for his role in their deaths. In late 2006, Ya'alon was in New Zealandmarker on a private fund-raising trip organised by the Jewish National Fund. An Aucklandmarker District Court judge issued a warrant for his arrest for alleged war crimes arising from his role in the 2002 assassination of Hamas leader Salah Shahade in Gaza City, in which at least 14 Palestinian civilians were killed, saying that New Zealand had an obligation to uphold the Geneva Convention. The Attorney-General of New Zealand, Michael Cullen, overruled the warrant after advice from the Crown Law office that there was insufficient evidence.

A Moshe Ya'alon quotation, "The Palestinians must be made to understand in the deepest recesses of their consciousness that they are a defeated people", has often been attributed to Ya'alon. The quotation, and variants, were widely repeated throughout the world by broadcasts and reputable publications such as the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, Toronto Star, Time Magazine, and the London Review of Books, as well as in blogs. The quote reinforced beliefs by some readers that Israel was the aggressor and Palestinians their victims. However, Ya'alon did not make the statement in the 2002 Haaretz interview generally cited as its source, and appears never to have made the quotation at all. The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, a pro-Israel media watchdog, began investigating the dissemination of the quotation in early 2009, after Rashid Khalidi, a Columbia University professor, repeated it in an op-ed in the New York Times. Subsequently, a number of international newspapers have issued corrections.

In January 2008, during a discussion on the Interdisciplinary Centermarker, Ya'alon said "There is no way to stabilize the situation all over the world and especially in the Middle East without confronting Iranmarker."According to The Sydney Morning Herald Ya'alon said: "We have to confront the Iranian revolution immediately. There is no way to stabilize the Middle East today without defeating the Iranian regime. The Iranian nuclear program must be stopped."

When asked whether "all options" included a military deposition of Ahmadinejad and the rest of Iran's current leadership, Ya'alon told The Herald: "We have to consider killing him. All options must be considered."

After leaving his position as Chief of Staff Ya'alon spent some time in the think tank Washington Institute for Near East Policy and became a Senior Fellow at the Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies at the Shalem Center Institute for International and Middle East Studies. Ya'alon also serves as the chairman of the Center for Jewish Identity and Culture at Beit Morasha in Jerusalemmarker.

Political career

On 17 November 2008 Ya'alon announced that he was joining Likud and that he would participate in the primaries which would determine the Likud candidates for the 2009 elections. He won eighth place on the party's list, and entered the Knesset as Likud won 27 seats. Upon the formation of the Netanyahu government, he was appointed Vice Prime Minister (alongside Silvan Shalom) and Minister of Strategic Affairs.

The 'Virus' Incident

On Augut 2009, Ya'alon visited the ruins of Homeshmarker that was evacuated in Israel's unilateral disengagement plan in 2005 and toured Shomronmarker communities considered un-authorized outposts. He said that these communities are all legitimate and should not be called illegal. In addition, he participated in a convention of Manhigut Yehudit ("Jewish Leadership"), the more right wing Settlers' segment within the Likud right-wing Party, in which he condemned the disengagement plan, called Peace Now a "Virus" and said that "We became accustom to Arabs having been permitted to live everywhere: In the Negevmarker, Galilee, Shechemmarker (Nablusmarker), Jeninmarker, and [on the other hand] there are areas where Jews are not allowed to live. We caused this", and concluded that "regarding the issue of the settlements, Jews can and should be [living] every where in the Land of Israel. Every settlement needs to undergo the authorities' approval, and what emerges as in contradiction to these decisions is not eligible. That is what is against the law". . Later after meeting with PM Netanyahu heretracted parts of his statements and said that he "recognized the importance of democratic discourse and respecting other opinions."


  1. Ya'alon is widely known by his nickname, "Boogie" (also sometimes spelled "Bogie" or "Bogey" in English)
  2. The enemy within Ha'aretz
  3. Lawsuit filed against Ya'alon in US court The Jerusalem Post
  4. Interview with Former IDF Chief-of-Staff Moshe Yaalon The College Zionist
  5. Israeli hawks ready to fly on Iran Sidney Morning Herald November 24, 2008
  9. Rori Sharon, יעלון: יהודים צריכים להתיישב בכל מקום בארץ ישראל, Maariv, August 19, 2009


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