IDF’s main target: not Iran, but government policy

The army is using media in an effort to impose its policies on the elected government.

November 14, 2011 17:00
Nitzan Alon

Brig.-Gen. Nitzan Alon 311. (photo credit: IDF spokesman)


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It was reassuring to hear Defense Minister Ehud Barak finally state the obvious last week: Any decision on whether to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, he told Israel Radio, will be made by the elected government, not the army. Since the army’s subordination to the elected civilian government is a sine qua non of democracy, this shouldn’t even have needed saying. But it did. For as anyone who has followed the media in recent weeks would realize, many senior army officers seem to think their job isn’t to obey the elected government, but to impose their own policies on it. And so far, the government has done nothing to reassert its authority.

The nonstop media reports claiming that the Israel Defense Forces, Mossad and Shin Bet security service all oppose military action against Iran, though clearly an attempt to pressure the government to bow to this opinion, can’t necessarily be blamed on the security services: Their views have undoubtedly, and properly, been shared with cabinet ministers, and the leaks may have come from ministers who oppose attacking Iran.


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