Ashkenazi to hand over IDF to Gantz

“I regret the events of the last few days," Ashkenazi said as he prepares to pass the reins after four years as IDF chief of General Staff.

barak ashkenazi 311 (photo credit: IDF Spokesperson)
barak ashkenazi 311
(photo credit: IDF Spokesperson)
“I regret the events of the last few days,” IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi (above) said on Thursday, at a farewell meeting with military reporters during which he summed up his four years as the army’s leader.
Ashkenazi will leave the Kirya military headquarters on Monday after handing over the IDF’s reins to his successor and former deputy, Maj.-Gen. Benny Gantz, at a celebratory ceremony.
Ashkenazi had planned to travel overseas with his wife, Ronit, for a vacation, but he decided to postpone his trip since he will have to meet with State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss next week. Lindenstrauss is investigating the navy raid on the Mavi Marmara Turkish protest ship last May and the Harpaz Document affair.
“I regret some of the recent events that we have been through, and it would have been better had we been spared them,” Ashkenazi said. “But I believe that the army is stronger and is focused on its missions. I, as a civilian, know that I am leaving the IDF in professional hands.”
He hinted that the fallout from the Harpaz Document affair as well as the bad blood between him and Defense Minister Ehud Barak did not undermine the IDF’s capabilities.
“The IDF understands its responsibility,” he said.
Earlier in the day, the Turkel Committee that vets senior government appointments approved Gantz’s appointment as IDF chief. It will be brought to the cabinet on Sunday for final approval.
Gantz was tapped as chief of staff last week after former OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant’s nomination was withdrawn over allegations he illegally seized land next to his home in Moshav Amikam.
The committee said that that Gantz “radiates integrity” but at the same time listed three reservations: Gantz’s involvement in the incident in which border policemen Cpl.
Madhat Yusef bled to death at Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus in 2000; building a deck at his home in Rosh Ha’ayin; and claims that he received benefits for moving to northern Israel during the period he served as head of the IDF’s Northern Command.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said in a statement that he was satisfied with the decision and believed that Gantz’s appointment would stabilize the army.