IDF, Defense Ministry play down reports of tension

IDF denies 5th year for military chief considered; Barak: Claim “baseless."

By BY YAAKOV KATZ
February 10, 2010 08:46
2 minute read.
IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi

ashkenazi GOOD 311. (photo credit: IDF Spokesperson)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

Defense Ministry officials and IDF officers tried Wednesday to downplay reports of growing tension between Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi and Defense Minister Ehud Barak. But no matter how hard they try, the reports persist.

The sour relations only came to light on Tuesday night with Channel 1’s exclusive report that “informal talks” were ongoing regarding whether Barak would decide to extend Ashkenazi’s tenure by a fifth year. The chief of staff will mark three years in the position next Sunday.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


The report was met with a stiff denial from the Defense Ministry, with Barak’s spokesman Barak Seri issuing a statement accusing IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Avi Benayahu of leaking the report to Channel 1.

Whether Benayahu, a known media wizard, was behind the report or not is inconsequential considering that the Barak duo’s statement blasted an IDF officer who just happens to be one of Ashkenazi’s closest advisers, leading many to believe that the real target was not the spokesman but the chief of staff himself.

The escalated tension has two sources.

The first has to do with bad blood between Benayahu and Barak’s new chief of staff, Lt.-Col. (res.) Yoni Koren. Koren took over the post from Shalom Kital, who stepped down in November in a surprise move. Koren is an old crony of Barak’s, and served as his bureau chief when he was chief of staff and foreign minister.

Before Koren moved into the 14th floor of the Defense Ministry, Barak’s office was full of problems. One example was in the appointment of a permanent coordinator of government activities in the territories (COGAT), a post that had been held on a temporary basis by Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad for more than a year.

JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:


Several months ago, Barak finally appointed his military secretary, Brig.-Gen. Eitan Dangot, to the job, but he only took up the post in November as it took Barak another few months to appoint a replacement for Dangot. Then, after almost everyone had left, Defense Ministry director-general Pinhas Buchris announced his resignation.

The decision to bring in Koren was aimed at making order in the office. Since his appointment, Koren has become the strongman in the Defense Ministry and has refused to allow Benayahu to walk freely around the 14th floor as he had been used to doing.

The second source of tension between Barak and Ashkenazi has to do with disagreements they had regarding the appointment of Maj.-Gen. Benny Gantz as the deputy chief of staff. Ashkenazi was in favor, at the time, of appointing OC Northern Command Maj.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, a fellow Golani Brigade soldier, to the post. Barak reportedly wanted OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant. In the end, Gantz was the compromise.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Jisr az-Zarq
April 3, 2014
Residents of Jisr az-Zarqa beckon Israel Trail hikers to enjoy their town

By SHARON UDASIN