Former IDF Chief Moshe Ya'alon Joins Likud

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JERUSALEM, Israel - After weeks of deliberation, former IDF (Israel Defense Forces) Chief of Staff Lt. General (ret.) Moshe Ya'alon informed Likud party chairman Binyamin Netanyahu Monday evening that he wants to be part of Likud.

Ya'alon has been serving as a senior fellow at Jerusalem's Shalem Center's Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies.

The former IDF chief's long-awaited decision was welcomed by others in the party.

"This proves that the Likud is bringing together an experienced and balanced leadership, which appeals to centrist Israelis," said former IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Uzi Dayan, who also recently joined the party.

Ya'alon, who served as IDF chief of general staff from July 2002 to June 2005 during the Sharon government, was given his walking papers by then Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz. Ya'alon was dismissed for his open opposition to the government's decision to destroy 21 Jewish communities in the Gush Katif Settlement Bloc in the Gaza Strip and four in northern Samaria.

When the government carried out its "disengagement" in August 2005, nearly 10,000 Israelis were expelled from their homes and communities.

In Ya'alon's recently published book, titled The Long Short Road, he shares his views on what he believes is the folly of the government's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and the Philadelphi Corridor - the narrow strip of land separating Gaza from the Sinai Peninsula.

Ya'alon believes that security, education and infrastructure are the fundamental building blocks for a genuine peace between Israeli Jews and their Arab neighbors.

Sources: The Jerusalem Post, Haaretz

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