Barak stink-eye 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Tuesday refused to attend a Knesset State Control Committee meeting on the subject of appointments of senior IDF officers because the chief of General Staff, Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, was invited to the same meeting.
Barak later issued a statement saying he had informed Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin several weeks ago that he was “not prepared to take part in media shows staged by politicians.”
Barak and Ashkenazi have not been on speaking terms for many months.
Each suspects the other of being behind attempts to publicly discredit
one another over the question of whether Ashkenazi would have to step
down at the end of his term and, if so, whether Barak’s candidate,
Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant, would replace him.
The feud broke out even before this latest and most serious crisis between the two.
According to committee chairman Yoel Hasson (Kadima), Barak told him he
was prepared to attend a separate meeting on condition that Ashkenazi
was not there.
The meeting was held to discuss a report issued last year by State
Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss on the problems involving promotions and
appointments of senior military officers.
Hasson said Barak’s refusal was “a grave and unworthy step and we could
have taken legal procedures against him.” However, he told the committee
he had decided not to do so.
The meeting was attended by Lindenstrauss, Ashkenazi, former defense
ministers Moshe Arens and MK Amir Peretz (Labor) and former chief of
General Staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Dan Halutz.
MK Arye Eldad (National Union) was also angered by Barak’s conduct and
protested at the meeting. Later, he wrote to Rivlin, demanding that he
take action against Barak and charging that the defense minister’s
“gross contempt” for the Knesset had “crossed a red line.
“The defense minister cannot say he is ‘ready to appear before the
committee.’ He must appear before it in accordance with the law... He
cannot go on in his job as though nothing happened. Failure on your part
to respond harshly will only prove that he was right.”