(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
IDF commanders should continue to speak their minds on issues of morality and ethics, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said Sunday in Tel Aviv, in an apparent reference to the controversy that followed the Holocaust Memorial Day speech made by Deputy Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen. Yair Golan.
"This evening, I call on you and your subordinates, once again, to keep speaking your minds. Do so even if your comments are not part of the mainstream, and even if they stand in contrast with the ideas adopted by the senior command, or the government," Ya'alon said at an event attended by foreign military attaches at the Defense Ministry.
Earlier this month, Golan provoked controversy after saying that he was concerned by some the extremist voices within Israeli society. The IDF later issued a clarification saying that Golan did not mean to compare extremism in society in Israel to 1930s Germany.
"Do not fear, do not hesitate. Continue to be brave, not only on the battlefield, but also at the conference table," Ya'alon said on Sunday.
"A good military is one in which commanders, junior and senior, feel secure in their ability to speak their mind any time, knowing they will not be harmed," he added.
Earlier, a recording of Golan ten years ago showed the general speaking about the corruption of Israel's government of the day, and of the "concessions" the IDF were making with regards to the morality of safeguarding the lives of Palestinian civilians, in favor of protecting soldiers from rights.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later released a statement giving his full support to the IDF, including its commanders and its soldiers.
Netanyahu remains firm in his conviction that the comparison that was made to Nazi Germany was inappropriate and damaged Israel in the international arena, the PMO said.
But it added that army officers were free to express their opinions in> relevant forums on topics that fall with in their purview.
The IDF is the army of the people and it must remain outside of politics, the PMO said.