Yacimovich attempts to revive ‘Ashkenazi Bill'

Labor Party leader submits bill that would shorten the cooling-off period for security officials to enter politics, from three years to one.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
December 14, 2011 05:39
2 minute read.
Shelly Yacimovich

Shelly Yacimovich_311. (photo credit: LAHAV HARKOV)

Former IDF generals will be on their way back to the party that was once the political home of nearly every general upon their retirement, if Labor Party leader Shelly Yacimovich gets her way.

Yacimovich, along with fellow Labor MK Isaac Herzog, submitted a bill on Tuesday that would shorten the cooling-off period for security officials to enter politics, from three years to one.

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Passing the bill would enable former IDF chief of staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, who left his post in February, to join a political party in just two months and run in the next Knesset election.

Other top security officials who could be affected include former Mossad chief Meir Dagan and former IDF intelligence chief Amos Yadlin, whose father, Aharon Yadlin, was a Labor Party minister.

“We want quality people to join Labor, including security people,” Herzog said. “Members of no other profession are told they can’t be involved in politics for three years.

The bill is not intended for anyone specifically. There are a dozen former security officials who want to join us, and we are in favor of giving them an opportunity.”

Ashkenazi reacted to the proposal by telling Channel 10 that he was “not connected to this initiative.”

This is not the first time Labor MKs have raised the so-called Ashkenazi Bill. When MK Eitan Cabel submitted a bill on January 9 that would cut the cooling-off period to a year and a half, it was defeated unanimously in the ministerial committee on legislation.

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni has also announced that she opposes the bill.

Former IDF chief of staff Dan Halutz, who intends to run in the next Knesset election for Kadima, backs shortening the cooling-off period, even though he said he didn’t mind the current requirement to wait three years before entering politics.

The so-called Halutz Bill, which passed in 2007, extended the cooling- off period from six months to three years. It impacts IDF officers with a rank of major-general and lieutenant-general, senior officials in the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and the Mossad, and Israel Police and Prisons Service wardens with a rank of commander or above.


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