Preamble: A note on the outgoing DM Ya’alon. I have great respect for his accomplishments in the IDF and the defense ministry. His absence from public service will be missed. Now, onto the vegan-friendly, meat of the matter.
I expect Liberman to act pragmatically as he did during his previous ministerial positions. With his apology for an excessively recalcitrant attitude towards Netanyahu’s leadership (in speech and action), and joining the government, he’s already off to a good start. I certainly hope that he will prove his mettle in arguably the toughest cabinet position, but will defer—to military experts —before rendering my judgment of his tenure as Defense Minister.
I do, however, have a few items on my wish list for Mr Liberman to push from Defense ministry. The list is not in order of importance.
First, I wish that the military-rabbinate be pushed to increase conversions of FSU Israelis serving in IDF. There should still be a minimum standard that religious Jews can stomach (no pun about Crohn/colitis intended), but the initiative should be promoted. Additionally, those FSU Israelis who have served should retain access to this conversion procedure.
Second, allow civil marriages for Israelis in the ‘disputed’ territories. One, because forcing us to travel abroad to marry is immoral. Two, because it will support small businesses over the green line. Three, because it will provide a leg-to-stand-on when seeking to reform marriage laws in Israel ‘proper.” As Defense Minister certain administrative policies for ‘disputed territories’ are in his hands.
Third, use the position to ‘legalize’ many of ‘illegal’ settlements, even outposts. This legalization should not create any additional problems in the event of a two-state agreement requiring Israeli ‘withdrawal’ from post-67 areas. Liberman is himself a resident of a settlement marked-for-evacuation in the event of a ‘peace deal’ and has always said that this would not prevent enacting a two-state solution.
Fourth, take a page out of Amir Peretz’s tenure. A) do not be photographed with lenses on binoculars, and B) if a game-changing project like Iron Dome reaches your desk for approval, fight for it.
Fifth, increase pace of approvals for housing construction projects over the green line. Increased competition between ministers seeking to reduce housing prices by increasing supply will be good for the country.
Finally, and most importantly, please use the position to prepare our armed forces for the next conflict. Whether it be in Gaza, Lebanon, or elsewhere you control the training/armaments budget of IDF.