Halutz rejects Gal Hirsh's appeal

Chief of staff decides to adopt recommendations of Almog report.

regev goldwasser 298  (photo credit: Channel 10)
regev goldwasser 298
(photo credit: Channel 10)
IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz decided on Monday night to discontinue former Galilee Division commander Brig.-Gen. Gal Hirsh's service in the IDF, based on the findings of an internal military probe into the kidnapping of reservists Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev this past summer. After receiving the final report from the investigation committee, headed by Maj.-Gen. (res.) Doron Almog, Halutz rejected an appeal made by Hirsh last month to retract his resignation. Halutz also accepted the report's other recommendations, mainly intelligence-oriented, which included requirements for clearing command decisions with the General Staff. The initial report was presented on November 12, at which time Almog blamed Hirsh and Division 91 for the July 12 Hizbullah kidnapping of the two reservists. Hirsh submitted his resignation from the IDF hours before the report came out, but changed his mind afterwards and appeared before a military panel to defend his position. The November report also found failures on the intelligence and General Staff level, which Halutz at the time rejected and ordered Almog to reevaluate. The follow-up report, presented on December 1, again criticized Halutz and the General Staff, citing a "lack of preparedness" that led to the abductions of the soldiers. Yaakov Katz and Josh Brannon contributed to this report.