Does Eisenkot have his eye on politics? Ex-IDF chief to shorten 'cooling off period'

Eisenkot said he doesn't want to enter politics, but to serve as research fellow in Washington.

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March 11, 2019 10:52
2 minute read.
Gadi Eisenkot

Gadi Eisenkot. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Former IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot has asked to have his cooling-off period shortened to one month and will officially leave the military on March 31, 2019.

“At his request, the 21st Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot will retire from the IDF on March 31, 2019, and will thereby end his demobilization leave,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit confirmed to The Jerusalem Post.

According to a report by Yediot Aharonot, Eisenkot has asked to shorten his mandatory cooling-off period which is required for all career military officers - one year of demobilization leave, plus another three years before they may join politics.

While Eisenkot shied away from the media and rarely spoke in public during his tenure, he evaded clear answers to questions during his outgoing interviews as to whether he intended to enter politics.

"I will understand where I want to go, in search of the next significant thing that I want to do,” he told Channel 10 when asked where he sees himself in one year. “I will look for what will make me wake up with lightning in my eyes, as I have spent 40 years of my service, especially the last four years."

If he enters politics he would be the latest general to run, including former chiefs of staff Benny Gantz, Moshe Ya'alon and Gabi Ashkenazi as well as former general Orna Barbivai who are in the Blue and White Party, as well as Yoav Gallant and Tal Rousso.

Rousso, who is placed No. 2 on the Labor Party’s Knesset list, had been informed by the Central Elections Committee on Monday that he may not be eligible because he is running only two years after he left the military. While Rousso left active duty in 2013, he served as the head of the IDF’s Depth Corps in a permanent capacity until 2017 in reserves. He was cleared to run last week by Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit.


But a report by Israel’s Channel 10 News said he has vehemently denies that he intends to enter politics and instead plans to join the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) as a fellow for six months starting in April.

"I did not shorten my cooling-off period because of a desire to enter politics, and I do not want to enter the political system at this stage,” the report quoted him as saying, adding, "I want to express myself freely at a research institute in the United States.”

By ending his demobilization leave, Eisenkot will become a civilian and his talks at WINEP will not be subject to the approval of the IDF Spokesperson.

He will lose hundreds of thousands of shekels (NIS 200,000-300,000) as a result the cutting of his cooling-off period, the two reports said.

While the usual term for chief of staff is three years, Eisenkot served as the top military officer in the IDF from February 2015 to January 2019 after former Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman extended his term in January 2017.

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