Click photo to download. Caption: Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon speaks at the 4th Likud Party conference at Ganei HaTaarucha in Tel Aviv on May 7, 2014. Credit: Tomer Neuberg/Flash90.
By Jacob Kamaras/JNS.org
In March, ahead of what would have been Israel’s fourth release of 26 Palestinian terrorist prisoners for the now-collapsed peace talks, Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon (Likud) said he would resign from his position in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government if the prisoners were freed.
Danon’s words were never tested because Israel did not proceed with the release, but his vow itself is indicative of his reputation for making bold statements.
“I take a direct approach, not being wishy-washy on issues, even if it means I have to confront the chairman of my own party–the prime minister–on very important issues,” Danon said in a recent interview from his office in the Knesset building. “And I think in general, the public appreciates it.”
Speaking to JNS.org before the bodies of the three kidnapped Israeli teens were found, Danon said the U.S. should end its $450 million in annual aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) now that PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement is in a unity government with the terrorist group Hamas–which Israel says was behind the kidnapping. Danon reiterated his sentiment on PA funding after the teens’ fate was revealed.
“I call on the international community to end all aid to the Palestinian Authority and its Hamas-backed government,” he said in a statement. “President Abbas cannot continue to claim to want peace with Israel, while at the same time partnering with Hamas as they kidnap and brutally murder teenagers.”
In the rest of his interview with JNS.org, Danon discusses his current government role, both Israeli and Palestinian construction, and the complexities of the Mideast region.
JNS: What have you learned so far as deputy defense minister that you didn’t know before?
Danny Danon: “I got familiar with the threats and the challenges that we are facing. Today I am more aware of the global threats, that have made it to the civilian population, to the home front. … I became aware of and exposed to the capabilities of the IDF and the other forces we have… I fall asleep at night, because I know what they are plotting in Hezbollah, Hamas, Iran–I know more. But on the other hand, I know exactly what we have in terms of protection capability and intelligence capability, so it balances out.
“The home front, it is a different game today. In the past the minister of defense or the deputy minister of defense had to be worried ‘What will happen with the soldiers who will fight against Hezbollah?’ or against the Syrians, Egyptians, Jordanians, you name it. Today we are worried about it, but we know that we’ll take two days, four days, five days, [and] we will win, no doubt about it. The question is, how many missiles will the civilian population have to absorb?