Defense Minister Ehud Barak defended on Tuesday his appointment of Maj.- Gen.
Gadi Eizenkot to the position of deputy IDF chief of
Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein earlier questioned the timing of
Weinstein asked Barak to explain why the appointment was
made during an election season. The criticism came soon after the
attorney-general issued guidelines to the government to avoid major appointments
ahead of elections in order to avoid a conflict of interests.
Barak is due to send Eizenkot argued that the appointment of a deputy chief of
staff is of vital importance to the state at this time.
Barak added that
he was forced to wait until now to move ahead with the appointment, as he need
to be sure that Eizenkot, 52, was cleared of any connection to the Harpaz
The Harpaz affair centered on a fake document that was
allegedly drawn by former intelligence officer Lt.-Col.
Harpaz, to damage the reputations of senior IDF officers. A final report on the
affair, drawn up by the state comptrollor, was received by Barak recently, and
made no mention of Eizenkot, thereby paving the way for the
Speaking to Army Radio on Tuesday, former justice minister
Daniel Friedmann said that Barak’s decision was legal and
The Basic Law on Government explictly says that the state
requires a continuously functioning government, meaning that a serving
government can carry on with its activities until it is replaced, Friedmann
Friedmann noted that then-prime minister Ehud Olmert set out on a
major military operation in Gaza (Operation Cast Lead) before an election in
2009, while Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu did the same last month, as proof
that the appointment of a senior defense official was proper.
government can declare a war during elections, it can certainly make
appointments during this time,” Friedmann said.