eli yishai 298 88 aj.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Eli Yishai offered no criticism of the government's decision-making during the Second Lebanon War in his testimony before the Winograd Committee. He called its diplomatic achievements "excellent" and its military success "good."
Yishai's testimony was released on Thursday, along with that of Prof. Asa Kasher, the author of the IDF's code of ethics.
Two panel members, Prof. Ruth Gavison and Maj.-Gen. (res.) Menahem Einan, asked Yishai whether he thought the government had failed in its management of the military campaign.
"The prime minister emphasized that it would not be easy and that no one should fool himself into believing otherwise, Yishai responded. "Our diplomatic achievements were excellent and our military achievements were good."
"I thought we could achieve those objectives in the first days of the war without sending in ground forces." Yishai said. "What happened was a change in the public's appraisal of the situation. It could be - and I am not a psychologist - that the feeling that the IDF is omnipotent and that nobody can beat us created very high expectations. And that continued for some time.
"I say with all due certainty: If we had achieved the same goals in the first week or even in the second week, we would have come out of it looking like the champions. Nobody could have denied it. The Katyushas continued to fall for too long and that caused people doubts."
Yishai was a member of the forum of seven war cabinet along with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Amir Peretz, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Vice Premier Shimon Peres, Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz and Public Security Minister Avi Dichter.
Yishai devoted a large part of his testimony to explaining his opposition to sending in ground troops.
"The goal was to destroy and reduce Hizbullah as much as possible. But to do this from the air. To attack every village from which Hizbullah fired missiles. I opposed sending soldiers in to take control of buildings, to fight in urban areas and end up having 27, 30 soldiers killed while they [Hizbullah] dig under ground and come up and go down and make a joke out of our soldiers.
"We have no desire to incite the goyim against us or to desecrate God's name. I even suggested that we help rehabilitate Lebanon. But first we had to show the world that you can't play around with Israel. We had to show them, excuse me for saying, that we are a little bit crazy. That if there is no quiet here, there will be no quiet in Lebanon."
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