ashkenazi is a suit 311.
(photo credit: Avi Hayun)
Coalition and opposition MKs alike congratulated former IDF chief of General
Staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi Monday for the four years in which he led
the IDF, although some looked forward rather than backward, hinting at his
anticipated entrance into the political arena.
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Knesset Speaker Reuven
Rivlin told Ashkenazi he opposed any legislative initiatives to reduce the
three-year cooling-off period for top-ranking IDF officers considering a career
Nevertheless, Rivlin said he was “certain that Ashkenazi will continue to serve
the people of Israel as he has done thus far. Everything in due time. Gabi is a
young man and I am certain that if he so desires, he will conquer the benches of
this building like others before him. The question is simply when.”
“Ashkenazi Law," meant to shorten the waiting time to 18 months, recently failed
to pass in the Knesset.
Earlier in the day, during Ashkenazi’s farewell
meeting with the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Binyamin Ben-Eliezer
(Labor) also hinted at Ashkenazi’s future, noting that “Gabi isn’t leaving the
The former defense minister added that “history will do its own
accounting and will prove that you are brave and can take
Committee chairman Shaul Mofaz (Kadima) said the selection
process for Ashkenazi’s successor “revealed problems” at the levels of both the
defense minister and prime minister.
“The process was not run
appropriately for the defense establishment, and harmed the institution of the
chief of General Staff,” said Mofaz, himself a former army chief. “I hope
that the lesson was learned.”
Coalition member Danny Danon (Likud)
addressed Ashkenazi, saying that “both the coalition and the opposition value
you. It was infuriating to see the Defense Minister’s behavior during the
selection process of your successor.”
Ashkenazi, in turn, had warm words
for the panel, which, he said “is, for the IDF, the most professional and
important committee in the Knesset.”
“History gave me a rare second
chance to become chief of General Staff,” he continued.
He was referring
to having lost out to Lt.-Gen. (res.) Dan Halutz in the previous selection
process for army chief, and then being called back to uniform to replace him
after Halutz’s dismal performance during the Second Lebanon War.
army understands its purpose and is focused on the threat,” Ashkenazi
continued. “We concentrated on returning security to citizens so they
could live normal lives.”
The former chief of General Staff said recent
events in the region posed challenges despite the relative quiet along Israel’s
“We need to be ready for the entire range of threats,” he said.
“We need to remember that in our neighborhood we need a strong army. In the
Middle East, there is no room for the weak; a strong army distances war. Peace
with Egypt is a strategic asset, as is peace with Jordan. We must act to remove
additional states from the cycle of the conflict.”