Former IDF general: ‘This government is madness’

"All the basic values ​​of the effective functioning of a government, of a healthy organization, have simply been thrown away!"

 Former IDF general and then-Knesset member Eyal ben Reuven speaks at a conference against the deportation of African asylum seekers, at the Knesset, Israel's Parliament, in Jerusalem, on January 17, 2018.  (photo credit: HADAS PARUSH/FLASH90)
Former IDF general and then-Knesset member Eyal ben Reuven speaks at a conference against the deportation of African asylum seekers, at the Knesset, Israel's Parliament, in Jerusalem, on January 17, 2018.
(photo credit: HADAS PARUSH/FLASH90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is endangering Israel's security through his irresponsible decisions, former Deputy Commander of the IDF Northern Command, Maj.-Gen. (Res.) Eyal Ben Reuven has said.

“The prime minister knows very well how irresponsible his decisions are to the point of endangering the security of the country,” said the former general in an interview on Sunday with Yoav Mintz on Radio Tzafon 104.5FM.

“I am not afraid of a collision between Galant and Smotrich, I am afraid that there will be an inevitable collision between soldiers in the IDF and those under Smotrich's command,” he added.

The general referred to the current “strange” situation in which there are effectively two defense ministers, saying: “Everything that happens in this government is madness. It is trolling. In my opinion, it is a serious issue that the prime minister who is responsible for our security, the economy... [and] for all of us... [is making] decisions [which] border on irresponsibility to the point of endangering the security of the country.”

“All these delusional decisions are [aiming at] one goal as clear as the sun: to save the state of justice in Israel. All the basic values ​​of the effective functioning of a government, of a healthy organization, have simply been thrown away!” he said.

Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben-Gvir prior to his entry into politics can be seen speaking Israeli attorney Itamar Ben Gvir speaks during a ceremony marking the 27th anniversary of the death of Rabbi Meir Kahane, November 7, 2017 (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben-Gvir prior to his entry into politics can be seen speaking Israeli attorney Itamar Ben Gvir speaks during a ceremony marking the 27th anniversary of the death of Rabbi Meir Kahane, November 7, 2017 (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

On the appointment of Yoav Gallant as defense minister, Ben Reuven said: “I know him very well...he can be a fine defense minister. That is not the problem. The problem is that he is given a broken-down defense ministry.”

“There are people [in government] who have a question mark regarding their criminal behavior in the past and there is a question mark regarding their behavior in the future. The message to the people of Israel is clear: It is permissible to be a criminal, it is permissible to break the law, it is permissible to incite. You cannot be a commander in the IDF or take up senior positions in the civil service, but you can be elected - you can be in the government!”

Netanyahu's court case

On the subject of the ongoing criminal case against Netanyahu, Ben Reuven said that: “The court that is supposed to handle the prime minister's case. Instead, we see ideas about intolerable laws. Majority legislation in the Knesset to create personal legislation for the benefit of the criminal Deri! What Is this the law that will serve the prime minister in the future?”

When asked if the High Court of Justice could change the decision, he replied, “Yes, but [the government] will overturn the High Court the next day, in an overriding sentence.”

“What is a Supreme Court? We have now seen the UN's decision to investigate us and to investigate the activities of the IDF. They could also investigate me as a former military man. How have we fought and succeeded so far for IDF officers and soldiers? Thanks to our court. The world saw in the Israeli court as a body of justice - we investigate ourselves. We received legitimacy and backing for it. When you see what is happening now in court, what kind of support will [it get us]?”

Smotrich and security 

Ben Reuven later returned to the security issue and referred to the disturbing possibility that “the minister of defense will say one thing and Smotrich will say another.”

According to him, there is reason to worry: “You are worried and rightly so, based on lessons learned in blood. We learned the need for unity of command and full coordination between all the arms in the security sector. [Particularly in the case of] Judea and Samaria, because these are the relevant points of friction. So what do we do now?”

 Religious Zionist party head MK Bezalel Smotrich seen after coalition talks with Shas chairman MK Arie Deri and  Likud Head MK Benjamin Netanyahu outside a hotel in Jerusalem, December 5, 2022.  (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90) Religious Zionist party head MK Bezalel Smotrich seen after coalition talks with Shas chairman MK Arie Deri and Likud Head MK Benjamin Netanyahu outside a hotel in Jerusalem, December 5, 2022. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

When asked if he predicts that there will be a collision between Galant and Smotrich, he replied that “a collision between Galant and Smotrich worries me less. I am more worried that it will be between soldiers in the IDF and Smotrich's command! Everyone will make different decisions. You don't just act by force. [When speaking to] the Palestinian side, the coordinator of operations in the territories does it.”

In concluding the interview, the former general referred to the investigation into the death of the late Sergeant Eitan Fichman during an exercise in the Golan Heights, calling it "a very sad accident.”

The soldier was inside the turret of his tank and was crushed by the cannon during the training exercise. 

“I was glad to see in the announcement that the commander of the Northern Command and the Chief of Staff are taking this accident far beyond the technical issue of how to prevent such an accident in the future.”