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Israel defense minister's attack on Kerry criticized, called 'refreshing'

Ariel Hermoni / Israeli Defense Ministry via EPA

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon

TEL AVIV, Israel - Reaction to Israeli defense minister Moshe Yaalon's scathing remarks about Secretary of State John Kerry ranged on Wednesday, with one commentator praising him for his honesty and another accusing him of descending to the level of online squabbles.

"These remarks ... are more like a comment you would expect from someone on the Internet than from the State of Israel’s defense minister," wrote Nadav Eyal, a senior correspondent with Ma'ariv newspaper.  

Meanwhile, Simon Schiffer, the author of the original report where Yaalon branded the United States' top diplomat "messianic," leapt to the minister's defense and praised his honesty.

"There is something refreshing and far more important in those remarks than courtesy and niceties -- straight and direct talk with the citizens of Israel," he wrote in Yedioth Ahronoth.  

The U.S. is trying to broker a "two-state solution" agreement in which Israel would exist alongside a new Palestinian state.

Yaalon's personal comments were based on his deep misgivings about Kerry's plans, Schiffer said.

Kerry "has nearly completely adopted the Palestinians’ position," he wrote.  

"It is no secret that [President Benjamin] Netanyahu thinks the very same things. Except that Yaalon, as opposed to Netanyahu, is unwilling to be party to the sham surrounding the talks with the American secretary of state."

Alon Pinkas, an expert in U.S.-Israel relations, said the furor just revealed a key thing Palestinians and Israelis had in common: "The one quality that they all share, so stupendously in an exhibitionist way, is to explain why it's the U.S.'s fault."

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