Former chief of staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi 390.
(photo credit: Courtesy of Dror Einav / INSS)
A bill that would allow former IDF chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi
Ashkenazi to run in the next Knesset election is expected to suffer a setback on
Sunday, when it will likely be voted down in the Ministerial Committee on
The bill would shorten the cooling-off period currently
required for top security officials from three years to one.
enable Ashkenazi to compete in an election held as early as August.
Knesset cannot act like a closed-door club,” said the bill’s sponsors, Labor MKs
Shelly Yacimovich and Isaac Herzog. “The three-year wait prevents quality people
who have served the public from entering politics. This is not demanded
of people from any other field, so it is discriminatory.”
When a similar
bill was brought to a vote in the same committee in January 2011, it did not
receive a single vote in favor. Labor officials admitted Saturday night that
there was not much chance of getting a better result.
Ashkenazi did not
help the bill’s chances when he wrote a column about conscripting haredim
(ultra-Orthodox) men in Friday’s Yediot Aharonot
Hebrew daily that was perceived
as insulting cabinet ministers.
‘This is not the time for cheap
politics,” he wrote. “The security of the state must come before the
security of the coalition.”
Other top security officials who could be
affected in the unlikely event that the bill becomes law include former Mossad
chief Meir Dagan and former IDF intelligence chief Amos Yadlin, whose father,
Aharon Yadlin, was a Labor Party minister.
Former IDF chief of staff Dan
Halutz, who intends to run in the next Knesset election for Kadima, backs
shortening the cooling-off period, even though he said he did not mind waiting
The so-called Halutz Bill, which passed in 2007, extended
the cooling-off period from six months to three years. It impacted IDF officers
with the rank of major-general and lieutenant- general, senior officials in the
Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and the Mossad, and Israel Police and Prisons
Service personnel with the rank of commander or above.