MKs say Barak must quit over Galant appointment

Landau decries media lynching of Galant; Katz: Curse of disengagement strikes again.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
February 2, 2011 03:12
2 minute read.
Galant speaks to southern command soldiers

yoav galant311 (do not publish again). (photo credit: flash 90)

Knesset Members from across the political spectrum called on Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Tuesday to resign, due to his failure in appointing Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant as IDF chief of General Staff.

The MKs said Barak’s haste in appointing Galant and his failure to properly examine whether the appointment would face legal challenges proved that he could not be trusted to prepare Israel to deal with imminent threats to national security.

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“Barak must take responsibility for the appointment and for the tremendous damage it did to the IDF and the country,” National Union MK Arye Eldad said. “From now on, there must be hearings of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee for such key positions, to ensure that lessons will be learned.”

Kadima MK Nachman Shai complained that Barak was treating the IDF as his own private property, and that by refusing to admit their failure, Barak and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu were causing the public to lose faith in the defense establishment.

Two former defense ministers, MKs Shaul Mofaz (Kadima) and Amir Peretz (Labor) released simultaneous statements calling on Netanyahu and Barak to extend the tenure of current chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi until a new chief was chosen, rather than appoint Deputy Chief of General Staff Maj.-Gen. Yair Naveh as temporary army head for 60 days.

“This is the time to restore necessary tranquility to the General Staff in order to allow it to deal with the challenges and important missions that lie ahead,” Peretz said.

Although Peretz is a longtime nemesis of Barak, he refused to join calls for him to quit, saying that the IDF had been through enough tremors and that this was not the time to engage in personal attacks.

Minister-without-Portfolio Michael Eitan (Likud), the first politician who said Galant should not be allowed to be IDF chief, said the message of Tuesday’s developments was that public servants cannot get away with taking advantage of their positions to advance at the public’s expense.

Vice Premier Moshe Ya’alon, a former IDF chief who, like Eitan, did not vote for Galant’s appointment, issued a statement complaining about “ugly power struggles, manipulations and irresponsible behavior that created a heavy cloud over the IDF and harmed it professionally and ethically.”

National Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau (Israel Beiteinu), meanwhile, defended Galant and said the prime minister and defense minister should have insisted on his being chief of General Staff.

“No one in this world is an angel, but Galant has been lynched by the media,” he told Army Radio.

National Union chairman Ya’acov Katz said Galant’s not becoming chief of General Staff was further proof of what he called “the disengagement curse,” which has struck top figures involved in the 2005 withdrawal from the Gaza Strip with tragedies. Galant was former prime minister Ariel Sharon’s military attache at the time of the disengagement.

Other victims of the curse cited by Katz included Sharon, his son Omri, former president Moshe Katsav, former prime minister Ehud Olmert, former Kadima MK Haim Ramon, former IDF chief Dan Halutz, and the Israel Police’s Moshe Karadi and Uri Bar-Lev.


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