Ashkenazi mum on threat to Galant’s post on farewell tour

By
January 19, 2011 02:32

Chief of General Staff Lt.- Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi continued making his farewell rounds of the IDF, flies on F-16i fighter jet and Entebbe aircraft.

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Gabi Ashkenazi in a fighter jet

Gabi Ashkenazi in fighter jet 311. (photo credit: IDF Spokesperson)

Chief of General Staff Lt.- Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi continued making his farewell rounds of the IDF on Tuesday despite the uncertainty that continues to plague the appointment of his successor, Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant.

On Tuesday, Ashkenazi visited the Ramon and Nevatim Air Force bases and flew on an F-16I Sufa fighter jet as well as the aircraft that participated in the 1976 rescue of Air France hostages from Entebbe, Uganda.

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Ashkenazi flew with the F- 16I over the Ramon Crater where an IAF fighter jet crashed in November, killing the pilot and navigator.

The IAF has determined that the crash was caused by human error and Ashkenazi met Tuesday with the families after flying over the crash site.

Later in the day, Ashkenazi flew on a Hercules C-130 transport aircraft that participated in the Entebbe rescue operation nearly 35 years ago. The flight was in combat mode and the plane landed in an open area in the desert to demonstrate its ability to land in all terrain.

“The IAF is Israel’s strategic arm which knows how to carry out missions close to Israel and far away as well,” Ashkenazi said.

On Wednesday, Ashkenazi will travel to Haifa to bid farewell to the Navy.

He refused to comment on developments in the state comptroller’s investigation into claims that Galant illegally seized land near his home in Moshav Amikam and said that he has been meeting with his tapped successor weekly to help prepare him for the post. There is also a petition pending to the High Court of Justice over the appointment.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak also downplayed the state comptroller’s probe of Galant and said he believed the issue would be clarified in the near future.

If the High Court of Justice nixes Galant’s appointment, Barak will have to choose a new chief of staff to replace Ashkenazi. Leading candidates would likely be OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Avi Mizrachi, the IDF’s attache in Washington DC Maj.-Gen. Gadi Shamni and the new Deputy Chief of Staff Maj.- Gen. Yair Naveh, who recently returned to the IDF after retiring two years ago.


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