barak ashkenazi 311.
(photo credit: IDF Spokesperson)
The cabinet approved the appointment of OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Yoav
Galant as the next IDF chief of General Staff on Sunday, as the current chief,
Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, dispelled reports that he plans to resign before his
term ends in February.
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During the cabinet meeting, Prime Minister
Binyamin Netanyahu praised Galant, saying he had “proven himself during 33 years
on the IDF’s front lines as a brave fighter, an excellent officer, and a
balanced and responsible commander.”
Government Services Minister Michael
Eitan (Likud) voted against Galant’s appointment, citing media reports that the
general illegally appropriated land near his home in Moshav Amakim. Strategic
Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon (Likud), a former chief of General Staff, walked
out of the cabinet meeting before the vote, reportedly to protest the way
Defense Minister Ehud Barak (Labor) selected Galant.
During the meeting,
Barak praised Ashkenazi – with whom he has been at odds in recent months amid
suspicions that the army chief’s senior assistant, Col. Erez Weiner, had been
part of the so-called “Galant Document” affair.
In an apparent reference
to Weiner’s involvement, Barak told a radio interviewer on Sunday that he had
been told by police investigators that a serving IDF colonel was linked to the
affair. Weiner was said to have received the document from Lt.-Col. (res.) Boaz
Harpaz, who allegedly forged it, before giving it to another retired officer who
eventually leaked it to the media.
Galant’s cabinet appointment was for
three years – unlike that of Ashkenazi, who had been appointed to a four-year
term – with the possibility of a year’s extension in the event of an emergency.
Barak sought the authority to decide on an extension, but Attorney-General
Yehuda Weinstein informed him that the authority would remain with the
Earlier on Sunday, Ashkenazi said Galant would take over the IDF
six months from now after the incumbent steps down as planned in February.
Speaking to high school students in Or Yehuda, Ashkenazi referred to the Galant
Document affair as having been an “unpleasant time,” and wished Galant the best
of luck in his new position.
Also on Sunday, a committee established by
Barak to probe the IDF’s conduct during the Galant Document affair got to work.
The panel is headed by Maj.- Gen. (res.) Yitzhak Brick, the IDF ombudsman in
charge of soldiers’ complaints.
Other members of the committee include
the deputy head of the National Security Council, a senior official at the
National Insurance Institute who served in the Military Police, and a former
adviser to the chief of General Staff on women’s affairs.
was asked to submit its recommendations by October 7.