Gabi Ashkenazi in fighter jet 311.
(photo credit: IDF Spokesperson)
Chief of General Staff Lt.- Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi continued making his farewell
rounds of the IDF on Tuesday despite the uncertainty that continues to plague
the appointment of his successor, Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant.
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Ashkenazi visited the Ramon and Nevatim Air Force bases and flew on an F-16I
Sufa fighter jet as well as the aircraft that participated in the 1976 rescue of
Air France hostages from Entebbe, Uganda.
Ashkenazi flew with the F- 16I
over the Ramon Crater where an IAF fighter jet crashed in November, killing the
pilot and navigator.
The IAF has determined that the crash was caused by
human error and Ashkenazi met Tuesday with the families after flying over the
Later in the day, Ashkenazi flew on a Hercules C-130
transport aircraft that participated in the Entebbe rescue operation nearly 35
years ago. The flight was in combat mode and the plane landed in an open area in
the desert to demonstrate its ability to land in all terrain.
“The IAF is
Israel’s strategic arm which knows how to carry out missions close to Israel and
far away as well,” Ashkenazi said.
On Wednesday, Ashkenazi will travel to
Haifa to bid farewell to the Navy.
He refused to comment on developments
in the state comptroller’s investigation into claims that Galant illegally
seized land near his home in Moshav Amikam and said that he has been meeting
with his tapped successor weekly to help prepare him for the post. There is also
a petition pending to the High Court of Justice over the
Defense Minister Ehud Barak also downplayed the state
comptroller’s probe of Galant and said he believed the issue would be clarified
in the near future.
If the High Court of Justice nixes Galant’s
appointment, Barak will have to choose a new chief of staff to replace
Ashkenazi. Leading candidates would likely be OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Avi
Mizrachi, the IDF’s attache in Washington DC Maj.-Gen. Gadi Shamni and the new
Deputy Chief of Staff Maj.- Gen. Yair Naveh, who recently returned to the IDF
after retiring two years ago.