In a surprise move, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week forced out his long-serving defense minister, Moshe Yaalon. As he stepped down, Mr Yaalon warned: “Extremist and dangerous elements have taken over Israel.”
He was referring partly to his expected successor: Avigdor Lieberman, leader of the far-right Yisrael Beiteinu party, whose trademark outbursts have included demands to bomb Egypt and behead disloyal Palestinian citizens.
But Mr Yaalon was also condemning extremism closer to home, in Mr Netanyahu’s Likud Party. Mr Yaalon is to take a break from politics. With fitting irony, his slot is to be filled on Likud’s backbenches by Yehuda Glick, a settler whose goal to destroy Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa mosque and replace it with a Jewish temple has the potential to set the Middle East on fire.
Israeli commentators pointed out that, with Mr Lieberman’s inclusion, the government will be the most extreme in Israel’s history – again.