'Halutz Bill' would delay officers' Knesset careers

March 12, 2007 23:43

A three-year "cooling off period" will be imposed on high-ranking IDF officers before they can be elected to the Knesset, according to a bill by MKs Yuval Steinitz (Likud) and Avshalom Vilan (Meretz) which passed a first reading Monday. Steinitz, who has been working to pass the bill since the previous Knesset, said it was a "historic day for Israeli democracy" and allowed for the separation between army and state. "It became overwhelmingly clear to me when I was head of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that this was a crucial step to take to ensure that there is a clearer separation between the leadership of our armed forces and our elected officials," said Steinitz. Vilan said the bill ensures that IDF officers prioritize their soldiers and their army duties over the duties of their next jobs. Fifty-five MKs voted in favor of the bill, which will return for a second and third reading after the Knesset takes its spring recess next week. The bill is already being called the "Halutz Bill" since it could affect the recently retired IDF chief from running for political office in the next elections.

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