'Leave the IDF out of politics,' 200 former security officials say

Former intelligence, military, police commanders express concern over ongoing attacks on defense minister and chief of staff.

April 12, 2016 19:47
1 minute read.
SWEARING-in ceremony

A SWEARING-in ceremony for new recruits of the Paratroopers Brigade in January, 2014. Within three battalions of the Paratroopers, there are 300 lone soldiers.. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)

Some 200 former members of the defense establishment signed a letter on Monday expressing concern over attacks on Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, due to his stance on the IDF soldier under Military Police investigation for shooting dead an injured Palestinian knife attacker who was lying on the ground in Hebron last month.

Ya’alon, together with IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, have come under fire for saying that the soldier violated military ethics and norms, and for condemning the shooting.

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The signatories, former IDF, Shin Bet, Mossad and police personnel, said attacks on Ya’alon and on Eisenkot were “dangerous attempts to drag the IDF into the political arena.”

The former officials, all at the level of brigadier-generals or higher, wrote, “We condemn the impassioned attacks against the chief of staff,” adding, “After dozens of years of service, each one of us knows the defense establishment inside out, and we know its impressive professional capabilities. But even the strongest, most high-quality system is not immune to ongoing attempts by politicians to erode its image, and undermine faith in its leaders. Against this background, we join your call to politicians of all shades, and say: Keep the IDF out of politics!” The former defense officials said the IDF examined the incident “in the most professional and responsible manner. We stand firm behind your stance, and the decisions of the chief of staff, and back them completely.

The IDF will draw the legal, command-related, operational, and ethical conclusions that need to be drawn.

The IDF must be allowed to carry out its work faithfully, and the IDF must be allowed to lead his soldiers with honesty, might, and under the light of combat ethics, which form the IDF’s backbone.”

The letter was sent to Ya’alon by members of the Commanders for Israel’s Security group. It was signed, among others, by former Mossad chiefs Danny Yatom, Shabtai Shavit, and many senior former IDF officers.

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