Barak urges Ashkenazi to finish term

IDF chief meets with defense minister, Galant to discuss transition.

By
August 24, 2010 19:17
2 minute read.
Ashkenazi addresses group of soldiers

Ashkenazi Uniform 311. (photo credit: IDF Spokesperson)

 
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Defense Minister Ehud Barak met with IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi on Tuesday and urged him to remain in office until the end of his four-year term in February, 2011.

Barak’s request came two days after announcing that OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant will be the next IDF chief of General Staff amid speculation that Ashkenazi, miffed by the appointment of his successor six months before the end of his term, would resign prematurely. Officials said that Barak praised Ashkenazi for his contributions to the IDF and asked that he remain in office until the end of his term.

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Earlier in the day, Ashkenazi met with Galant for their first meeting since Barak’s announcement on Sunday. One of the first issues the two will have to coordinate is the expected round of appointments of officers to high-ranking positions at the rank of brigadier general.

Most of the appointments – for positions as division commanders and within the Ground Forces Command and the Medical Corps – are believed to be acceptable to Galant. However, Galant has taken issue with the appointment of Col. Erez Weiner, Ashkenazi’s senior assistant, as the IDF’s next chief education officer. While the appointment was approved by the General Staff, Galant had expressed his discontent with the move.

Weiner’s name has also come up in the context of the police investigation into the so-called “Galant Document” as potentially one of the officers who gave the damaging document to Gabi Siboni, a retired officer and close friend of Ashkenazi. Siboni has admitted to leaking the document to Channel 2, which broke the story  just over two weeks ago.

The two also discussed the expected round of appointments within the General Staff, which will begin in the coming weeks after Galant leaves the Southern Command to begin preparing for his term as the IDF’s chief of staff.

 Barak met later in the day with OC Northern Command Maj.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot and OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Avi Mizrachi and asked both of them to also remain in the IDF. Eizenkot is a leading candidate to serve as Galant’s deputy or as head of Military Intelligence.

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