halutz peretz 298 ap.
(photo credit: IDF)
Former IDF chief of General Staff Dan Halutz answered affirmatively that he intends to enter politics in a speech at a cultural event in Holon on Saturday, but he did not – and legally cannot – announce the move officially.
Yediot Aharonot quoted Halutz as affirming, “The question is not whether I am joining political life, but when.”
Those words were actually uttered not by Halutz, but by the newspaper’s reporter, Nehama Dweck, who hosted the event. When she asked him if such a statement would be correct, he said yes.
Halutz’s strategist, attorney Almogit Avital, said that prior to his affirmative answer, Halutz avoided three questions about whether he was en route to a political career. First he said he didn’t know, then he said he was concerned about what was happening in the country, and then he hinted that that he was going in that direction.
“After 40 years of service to the state and an important time out for me, it is burning in my bones when I see where the country is headed,” he said in his third answer, but immediately added that that he did not intend to make a decision “tomorrow.”
He then said yes when Dweck asked him whether his decision about entering politics was just a matter of time.
Sources close to Halutz revealed that he had decided long ago to enter politics, but he delayed his announcement because there is no election around the corner and because a three-year legally mandated cooling-off period following his army service only ends in January.
Meanwhile, he has met with many political officials, including with former prime minister Ehud Olmert and Kadima leader Tzipi Livni. He was also spotted meeting with another as-yet undeclared politician-in-waiting, Channel 2 journalist Yair Lapid.
When asked about joining a prospective Lapid-led party at Saturday’s event, Halutz called him “a wonderful person” and said he was impressed by him. He said he agreed with Lapid on some issues and disagreed with him on others, but that it was too soon to address the question.
Halutz has views on the center-left of the political map. He favors expediting diplomatic talks with both the Palestinians and the Syrians.
“The situation will get worse if we continue to be dragged rather than take initiative,” he said in Holon, adding that “there is no doubt that on certain issues, I have thoughts that I could do things better, but I don’t have an obsession with being prime minister.”
In a February interview with Yediot
, he called his rival, Vice Premier Moshe Ya’alon a “hypocrite” and a “snake,” and he complained about the cooling-off period.
Arye Avneri, who heads the Ometz good governance organization, said he
would check whether Halutz’s meetings with politicians violated the
cooling-off period law. He said his organization would take legal steps
against Halutz if he broke the law.
Kadima officials said they did not know whether Halutz would enter
politics and if he did whether he was en route to their party, but they
said they were in favor of people who have what to contribute entering
Moshe Muscal, whose son, Rafenael, was killed four years ago in the
Second Lebanon War that was led by Halutz, told Army Radio that the
former chief of General Staff was a failure. He accused him of engaging
in politics when he was in the army and said he was not needed in