FM Katz, IDF clash on Twitter over security cabinet leak

Analysts said that the Twitter feud showed the complicated and tenuous relationship between the IDF and the political echelon.

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
October 7, 2019 20:28
1 minute read.
Foreign Minister Israel Katz and IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi

Foreign Minister Israel Katz and IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

Foreign Minister Israel Katz and the IDF got into a Twitter feud on Monday, in the latest example of government-military tension over the continued post-election political stalemate.

It started when Katz tweeted that IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi had said that he was the one who decided to “lift the ambiguity” and take responsibility for the Israeli strike against an Iranian terror cell that was plotting to send explosive-laden drones into Israel in late August.

Katz directed his tweet at Blue and White co-leader Yair Lapid, who at the time had criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after he took credit for the Israeli attack in Syria.

“Yesterday the chief of staff clarified that he was the one who initiated the publication out of professional considerations,” Katz wrote on Monday.

While the foreign minister did not reveal where Kochavi had made the statement, it was understood that it took place at the security cabinet meeting that Netanyahu convened on Sunday afternoon to discuss the growing threat from Iran. It was the first meeting of the security cabinet since the election on September 17.

In response, IDF Spokesman Hidai Zilberman tweeted: “Regarding reporters’ requests this morning: The IDF keeps the cabinet discussions confidential.”

Analysts said that the small Twitter feud showed the complicated and tenuous relationship between the IDF and the political echelon. Katz’s use of Kochavi’s remark to the security cabinet politicized the chief of staff’s briefing. Zilberman, on the other hand, would likely not have tweeted what he did – against a sitting foreign minister – without Kochavi’s authorization.

“A reminder to those who need it: Security information should remain behind closed doors and not be used for political campaigns,” Blue and White MK Yoaz Hendel tweeted in response. “No matter the party or the political situation.”


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