Military Wiki
Moshe Ya'alon
Nickname Bogie
Born 6 December 1950(1950-12-06) (age 72)
Place of birth Kiryat Haim
Allegiance Israel Defense Forces
Years of service 1968–2005
Rank IDF rav aluf rotated.svg Chief of General Staff
Commands held Sayeret Matkal, Paratroopers Brigade, West Bank Division, AMAN, Central Command, General Staff
Battles/wars Yom Kippur War, Operation Litani, 1982 Lebanon War, 1982-2000 South Lebanon conflict, First Intifada, Second Intifada
Awards Legion of Merit
Other work Shalem Center, Likud

Moshe "Bogie" Ya'alon (born Moshe Smilansky on 24 June 1950) is an Israeli politician and former Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces. He currently serves as Defense Minister.

Early life

Ya'alon was born as Moshe Smilansky and grew up in Kiryat Haim, a working class suburb of Haifa. 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.[1] His military service between 1968 and 1971 was in the Nahal, and he later became a member of kibutz Grofit in the Arabah region near Eilat.

Military career

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

Ya'alon served as the commander of Sayeret Matkal and lead it to many notable achievements, for which the unit received four recommendations of honor. In 1990 Ya'alon was appointed as the commander of Judea and Samaria division (אוגדת איו"ש). In December 10, 1992 Ya'alon killed a Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist using hand grenade after the terrorist shot and killed YAMAM operator who tried to arrest him.[2]

Ya'alon was appointed head of Military Intelligence in 1995 and commanding officer of Israel's Central Command, responsible for the West Bank, in 1998. He was serving in this position when the Second Intifada was launched in September 2000. He was appointed Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on 9 July 2002, and served in that position until 1 June 2005. The major focus throughout his tenure as Chief of Staff was the army's effort to quell the Second Intifada. 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. He was appointed Defense Minister on 17 March 2013.[3]

Think tanks and institutes

After leaving his position as Chief of Staff, Ya'alon has spent 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 Jerusalem.

Political career

Moshe Ya'alon
Minister Vice Prime Minister
Minister Minister of Strategic Affairs
Minister Minister of Defense

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.[4] He won eighth place on the party's list,[5] 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. In March 2013, he replaced Ehud Barak as Defense Minister. As Defense Minister Ya'alon decided to continue to manufacture and purchase Merkava tanks for the IDF, after the whole project was in question due to budget issues and the overall discussion of the necessity of tanks in modern battlefields. During Ya'alon's tenure foreign sources claimed that the Israel Air Force attacked several time advanced weapons deposits in Syria before they were transferred to Hezbollah.

Controversial statements

Ya'alon's public pronouncements have often been controversial.

Palestinian threat as 'cancer'

On 27 August 2002, he told the Haaretz newspaper: "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."[6] In January 2004, he publicly stated that the thirteen Sayeret Matkal soldiers who refused to serve in the Israeli-occupied territories were taking the unit's name in vain.

On the need to confront Iran

In January 2008, during a discussion at the Interdisciplinary Center, Ya'alon said "There is no way to stabilize the situation all over the world and especially in the Middle East without confronting Iran."[7] 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."[8]

The Peace Now/'virus' incident

Ya'alon with American political activist Pamela Geller

In August 2009, Ya'alon visited the ruins of Homesh[9] that was evacuated in Israel's unilateral disengagement plan in 2005 and toured Israeli settlements in the north of the West Bank, considered as un-authorized outposts. He said that these communities are all legitimate and should not be called "illegal."[10] 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"[11][12] and said that "We become accustomed to Arabs being permitted to live everywhere, in the Negev, Galilee, Nablus, Jenin, and [on the other hand] there are areas where Jews are not allowed to live. We caused this." He also stated that, "regarding the issue of the settlements, in my opinion Jews can and should live everywhere in the Land of Israel. Now, ... first of all, every settlement needs to get the approval of the authorities, and what goes up on the spot, in contradiction to these decisions and so on is not legitimate. It's against the law".[12]

Later, after meeting with PM Netanyahu, Ya'alon retracted parts of his statements and said that he "recognized the importance of democratic discourse and respecting other opinions."[13] Ya'alon explained that, indeed, all Israelis want peace, now. He stressed, however, the need to accept the fact that peace won't come immediately, otherwise it "hurts Israel." Ya'alon stated that, in his view, the way of thinking that Israel just needs to give one more piece of land and then it will have peace is a kind of "virus."[14]

See also

  • Media coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict


  1. Ya'alon is widely known by his nickname, "Boogie" (also sometimes spelled "Bogie" or "Bogey" in English) "Knesset Gives Final OK to Gaza Pullout Plan". Fox News. 15 February 2005.,2933,147749,00.html. Gil Hoffman (19 August 2009). "Netanyahu summons Ya'alon over comments". 
  2. ‏משה (בוגי) יעלון, דרך ארוכה קצרה, ידיעות ספרים, 2008, עמודים 227-228.
  3. "Netanyahu picks ex-general Yaalon as new Israeli defense chief". Reuters. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  4. Meranda, Amnon (18 November 2008). "Yaalon: Withdrawals Must End". Ynetnews.,7340,L-3625081,00.html. Retrieved 19 November 2008. 
  5. "Likud primary results for February 10th national elections". 9 December 2008. Retrieved 9 December 2008. 
  6. The enemy within, Ha'aretz
  7. Interview with Former IDF Chief-of-Staff Moshe Yaalon, The College Zionist
  8. Israeli hawks ready to fly on Iran, The Sydney Morning Herald 24 November 2008
  12. 12.0 12.1 Ro`i Sharon, "יעלון: יהודים צריכים להתיישב בכל מקום בארץ ישראל", Maariv, Aug. 19, 2009.
  13. Haaretz
  14. "Israeli minister calls anti-settler group a "virus"". 19 August 2009. 


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