Cabinet approves Yoav Galant as Israel's 20th IDF chief

By
September 5, 2010 10:58

Ashkenazi says Galant will replace him in 6 months, wishes successor luck, refers to "Galant Document" affair as an "unpleasant time."

2 minute read.



Ehud Barak and Gabi Ashkenazi

barak ashkenazi 311. (photo credit: IDF Spokesperson)

The cabinet approved the appointment of OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant as the next IDF chief of General Staff on Sunday, as the current chief, Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, dispelled reports that he plans to resign before his term ends in February.

During the cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu praised Galant, saying he had “proven himself during 33 years on the IDF’s front lines as a brave fighter, an excellent officer, and a balanced and responsible commander.”

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Government Services Minister Michael Eitan (Likud) voted against Galant’s appointment, citing media reports that the general illegally appropriated land near his home in Moshav Amakim. Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon (Likud), a former chief of General Staff, walked out of the cabinet meeting before the vote, reportedly to protest the way Defense Minister Ehud Barak (Labor) selected Galant.

During the meeting, Barak praised Ashkenazi – with whom he has been at odds in recent months amid suspicions that the army chief’s senior assistant, Col. Erez Weiner, had been part of the so-called “Galant Document” affair.

In an apparent reference to Weiner’s involvement, Barak told a radio interviewer on Sunday that he had been told by police investigators that a serving IDF colonel was linked to the affair. Weiner was said to have received the document from Lt.-Col. (res.) Boaz Harpaz, who allegedly forged it, before giving it to another retired officer who eventually leaked it to the media.

Galant’s cabinet appointment was for three years – unlike that of Ashkenazi, who had been appointed to a four-year term – with the possibility of a year’s extension in the event of an emergency. Barak sought the authority to decide on an extension, but Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein informed him that the authority would remain with the cabinet.

Earlier on Sunday, Ashkenazi said Galant would take over the IDF six months from now after the incumbent steps down as planned in February. Speaking to high school students in Or Yehuda, Ashkenazi referred to the Galant Document affair as having been an “unpleasant time,” and wished Galant the best of luck in his new position.

Also on Sunday, a committee established by Barak to probe the IDF’s conduct during the Galant Document affair got to work. The panel is headed by Maj.- Gen. (res.) Yitzhak Brick, the IDF ombudsman in charge of soldiers’ complaints.

Other members of the committee include the deputy head of the National Security Council, a senior official at the National Insurance Institute who served in the Military Police, and a former adviser to the chief of General Staff on women’s affairs.

The committee was asked to submit its recommendations by October 7.


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