Yoav Galant .
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Moshe Kahlon on Thursday added former OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant as the sixth member of his Koolanu list at a joint press conference in Ramat Gan Thursday.
“What’s an Israeli hero doing in a socioeconomic party? He’s our partner,” Kahlon said, introducing Galant. “Galant believes that security is based first of all on solidarity. His leadership has been tested by actions and not just talk.”
Galant presented his view that a nation’s strength is based on security, economic growth and a strong society.
“Each influences the other. Without security, we won’t have economic stability. Without social justice, no one will carry the burden in a battle,” he said.
Galant added that “Israel’s enemies do not accept our existence in the region,” and leadership is necessary to face this challenge.
“I want to contribute my experience for the good of the people of Israel,” he stated.
Galant nearly became chief of staff in 2011, but a controversy known as the Harpaz Affair prevented him from being appointed.
The affair, a mudslinging battle between then-defense minister Ehud Barak and outgoing chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi, led to reports of plans to improperly advance Galant to become the next IDF chief of staff.
The incriminating document, written by Lt.-Col. (res.) Boaz Harpaz, turned out to be a forgery. In September, police recommended indicting Ashkenazi on minor but related charges.
Galant was also swept up in accusations that he had illegally appropriated land near his home in Moshav Amikam, charges of which he has mostly been cleared. However, it was the view of the attorney-general that Galant perjured himself in the hearings on the land scandal that sealed his fate on becoming chief of staff.
At Thursday’s press conference, the general addressed the alleged landgrab, saying: “I should have acted differently, I made mistakes.”
In September, Galant’s name was floated again to replace Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, who got the job following the scandal.
Gantz will step down in February, and will be replaced by Gadi Eisenkot.
Galant, who started in the navy and worked his way through several branches of the IDF, including the Jenin brigade and Gaza division, was an ally of Ariel Sharon when he was prime minister. He took over OC Southern Command after the 2005 disengagement from Gaza and directed Operation Cast Lead against Hamas there three years later. Galant favored pushing further into Gaza during that operation, and sparred with Ashkenazi over the strategy.
Galant will be the strongest security element on the Koolanu list, which has enlisted former ambassador Michael Oren for his diplomatic standing, Eli Alalouf for his anti-poverty platform, education maven Dr. Yifat Sassa-Biton and family rights activist Rachel Azaria.