Ashkenazi issues official apology for budget row with PM

IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi issued an official apology Wednesday night after his verbal confrontation a day earlier with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu during the cabinet meeting on the state budget. "I did not intend to cause any harm to the prime minister of any of the ministers," Ashkenazi said in a statement released by the IDF. "If however my remarks did harm someone, then I feel that it is my duty to apologize." The verbal confrontation took place during the cabinet debate and after the Treasury presented a proposal top cut officers' pension plans. Ashkenazi spoke out against the proposal to raise the IDF retirement age, telling the ministers that career officers are not simple laborers. Netanyahu responded: "I can't accept the claim that the defense establishment cannot become more efficient." Ashkenazi countered: "So don't accept it."