More than a month after the war with Hizbullah ended, OC Northern Command Maj.-Gen. Udi Adam announced his resignation on Wednesday, sparking calls for additional dismissals and resignations, including that of Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz.
Halutz, who heard of Adam's decision from the media, accepted the resignation after meeting with him at Division 91 headquarters in Biranit along the Lebanese border. The two agreed that Adam would complete his term as quickly as possible and only once all of the soldiers in Lebanon returned to Israel.
Sources close to Adam said he made the decision to resign about a month ago, but delayed stepping down until after "the last IDF soldier returned from Lebanon." The sources said Adam wanted to set a personal example by refusing to take part in the power struggles going on within the defense establishment.
"The IDF General Staff was paralyzed," said one officer close to Adam. "Adam didn't want to partake in the internal fighting and finger-pointing ahead of the inquiry commissions."
The sources praised Adam for what they said was a "proud and responsible" decision. Adam, they said, had been walking around frustrated and angry since Halutz appointed Deputy Chief of General Staff Maj.-Gen. Moshe Kaplinsky as his personal representative in the Northern Command during the war.
"The Kaplinsky appointment was a hard blow for Adam," one officer said. "It was only a matter of time before he decided to resign."
In his resignation letter, Adam wrote that he disagreed with several of Halutz's decisions during the war. "I am at peace with the decisions I made and am ready to appear before any inquiry commission," he said.
Before handing Halutz the letter, Adam told reporters: "I have a lot to say and when the time comes, I will present it to the public."
Adam received the Northern Command post last year, when he already had one foot out of the army following the completion of his tenure as OC Logistics Directorate during which he oversaw the smooth implementation of the disengagement from the Gaza Strip.
"Maj.-Gen. Adam was one of those people ready to sacrifice a lot for this country," Defense Minister Amir Peretz said. "We will need to inspect what is the significance of his decision."
Halutz will have to appoint two new members of the General Staff following Adam's decision and OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Yair Naveh's decision to end his term as well. One of the leading candidates to replace Adam is OC Operations Directorate Maj.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot. Another potential candidate is Maj.-Gen. Gadi Shamni, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's military attach .
National Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, a reserve brigadier-general, praised Adam's decision and called on Halutz to do the same. "He knew when to take responsibility and I hope the chief of General Staff speaks out soon and takes responsibility as well," he said.
Several MKs praised Adam. MK Yuval Steinitz (Likud) called the move a "brave and noble act," and said he hoped other officers would find the courage to follow suit.
Meretz leader Yossi Beilin called Adam "one of the IDF's most deserving officers... The system should be the one to make the right military, political and personal conclusions, and not just be satisfied with the fact that a few brave people will decide to retire themselves. Only a state commission of inquiry will assure that who ever is fired is responsible for the failures," he said.
"Adam is not the only one responsible for the events of the war in Lebanon," said MK Ami Ayalon (Labor). "There are those in the political echelon who are responsible, and I think Peretz needs to own up to this responsibility and resign."
Ayalon, a former Israel Navy commander and former head of the Shin Bet, has emerged as one of Peretz's top challengers to the Labor Party leadership.