Pinchas Buchris steps down as director-general amid growing tensions in Barak camp

Pinchas Buchris steps do

barak cabinet 248 88 aj (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
barak cabinet 248 88 aj
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The wave of personnel changes among Defense Minister Ehud Barak's top staff continued Tuesday when Defense Ministry Dir.-Gen. Pinhas Buchris announced his resignation after two-and-a-half years in the top post. The announcement regarding Buchris's resignation came just a week after two other top aides left Barak's office and amid reports of growing tension between the minister and his senior staff. Earlier this week, Barak's bureau chief, Shalom Kital, asked to leave his position after the defense minister decided to appoint an old crony of his, Yoni Koren, to the post. The bureau chief before Kital was Brig.-Gen. Mike Herzog, brother of Welfare Minister Yitzhak Herzog, who is currently serving as a diplomatic advisor to Barak and waiting to see if he will be promoted to Military Secretary to the prime minister by Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi. Defense officials told The Jerusalem Post that Barak had also decided to replace Amos Gilad, the longtime head of the Diplomatic-Security Bureau who until this week had also served for the past year as the temporary Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories after Barak dragged his feet on appointing a replacement to the last COGAT Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yosef Mishlav who finished his term over a year ago. The new COGAT, Maj.-Gen. Eitan Dangot, took up his post last Thursday. Sources close to Buchris said his relations with Barak were good and that he always planned to serve as director-general for at least three years. He was appointed to the post in May 2007 by then-defense minister Amir Peretz. Buchris will officially step down on January 15 and Barak's staff is already searching for a successor. Several names are being touted including former deputy chief of staff Maj.-Gen. (res.) Dan Harel, former head of the Ground Forces Command Maj.-Gen. Yiftah Ron-Tal and former head of the Navy Adm. Yedidya Ya'ari, the current president of Rafael. Barak said Tuesday that Buchris helped advance Israel's security, might and capabilities during his term as director-general and his long career in the IDF. Before joining the Defense Ministry, Buchris was a brigadier general and commander of Military Intelligence's 8200 Unit. Buchris is credited with some major IDF projects during his two-and-a-half year term, including the development of the Iron Dome anti-Kassam missile defense system, the transfer of IDF bases to the Negev and the billion-dollar cost-saving plan in army operations authored by the McKinsey Consulting Co. and approved last week by the IDF.