Ashkenazi looking to the sky 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
When the Ministerial Committee for Legislation voted two months ago on a
proposal aimed at allowing former IDF chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi
Ashkenazi to run in the next Knesset election, not a single minister voted for
But Kadima MK Ze’ev Bielski is convinced that with a groundswell of
public support, he can persuade enough ministers to allow the so-called Gabi
Ashkenazi bill to pass. To that end, Bielski has initiated a “let Ashkenazi run”
campaign, which is already spreading like wildfire on Facebook.
fair that there is no cooling-off period for journalists who enter politics and
a Finance Ministry director-general can work for companies he regulates after
only a year, but a man who served his country for decades has to sit at home for
so long,” Bielski said.
According to the so-called Halutz Law, IDF
officers with a rank of major-general and lieutenant-general, and the equivalent
ranks in the Shin Bet, Mossad, Israel Police and Prisons Service must wait three
years before contending for a seat in the Knesset.
Before the law, named
after former IDF chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz (res.), was passed
four years ago, they only had to wait six months.
The Ashkenazi bill,
which was sponsored by MKs Yoel Hasson (Kadima) and Eitan Cabel (Labor), would
cut the waiting period to 18 months.
Bielski said no country had such a
draconian cooling- off period for ex-generals.
He said the ministers who
opposed allowing Ashkenazi to run did so because they were concerned about their
own political futures.
“These ministers are cowards,” Bielski said. “If
Ashkenazi would join Kadima, I would gladly give up my seat in the Knesset for
Since Ashkenazi retired from the IDF last Sunday, several public
figures have urged him to enter politics, most notably President Shimon
“It would be a shame to lose a man like Ashkenazi, who has such
abilities and leadership skills,” Peres said.
When Ashkenazi was asked
whether he would enter politics in a meeting with the Conference of Presidents
of Major American Jewish Organizations last week, he gave the same answer he
gives when asked whether Israel might use military force to prevent the
nuclearization of Iran.
“All options are on the table,” he said.