The army cannot ignore the Knesset during Operation Protective Edge, Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) said before a briefing by Deputy IDF Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen.
Gadi Eisenkot Sunday.
“Even in wartime, parliamentary oversight is necessary,” Elkin declared. “That is one of the cornerstones of Israeli democracy.”
The committee’s chairman said that during the Second Lebanon War, Operation Cast Lead and Operation Pillar of Defense, the IDF chief of staff and his deputy briefed the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee several times.
“We will continue to insist that members of the committee, with the tools that they have, will receive up-to-date information, express their opinions, have an influence and do their democratic duty,” Elkin added.
According to Elkin, military officials’ reports to the committee are the only way the Israeli public can express its stance – via its elected representatives – because much of the information relayed in the meetings is classified and cannot be brought to open debate in the media.
The Likud minister also expressed appreciation for the IDF’s efforts.
“We understand the great weight on your shoulders and it is clear to me you are not resting for a moment, but parliamentary oversight is part of the rules of the game,” he said.
As such, Elkin said he is willing to be flexible and make things easier for senior IDF officers, but that they still must report to the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee more often.