Tamir to appeal court ruling to demote him

Demotion deicison came after colonel permitted underage son to drive IDF dune buggy, which resulted in an accident.

moshe tamir 248.88 (photo credit: IDF)
moshe tamir 248.88
(photo credit: IDF)
Former Gaza Division commander Brig.-Gen. Moshe "Chico" Tamir plans to appeal a military court decision on Thursday to demote him to the rank of colonel for permitting his underage son to drive an IDF dune buggy and attempting to cover-up a subsequent accident. Tamir, who has had an exemplary combat career in the Golani Brigade, served as commander of the Gaza Division until several months before January's Operation Cast Lead, whose success he was credited for even though he was no longer in an active position in the division. His demotion to the rank of colonel effectively rules out the possibility that Tamir will receive the rank of major-general as IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi had planned in the upcoming round of appointments in the General Staff. IDF sources said that once Tamir's candidacy had been ruled out, Ashkenazi and Defense Minister Ehud Barak would be able to complete the round of appointments in the coming days. Ashkenazi and Barak are expected to announce new appointments to a number of positions, including deputy chief of staff, head of Military Intelligence as well as heads of the Southern Command, Northern Command and Central Command. Tamir came under investigation last year after he allowed his 14-year-old son to drive a military dune buggy during a social meeting of division officers and their families. The boy crashed into a civilian vehicle and caused damage to the car. Tamir then attempted to keep the case silent and even claimed to have been the driver involved in the accident and not his son. Tamir reached a plea bargain with prosecutors last month under which he was charged with unlawful use of a military vehicle and improper military conduct. The more severe charge of obstruction of justice was removed from the indictment. The panel of judges criticized Tamir's conduct throughout the case, writing in their decision that his behavior undermined the basic military values of credibility and honesty. The court also harshly criticized the conduct of the Military Police, which conducted the investigation against Tamir, saying that it worked to diminish the severity of the case and treat it like a standard car accident when it included additional criminal elements. In response, Judge Advocate General Brig.-Gen. Avichai Mandelblit ordered his office to conduct an independent review of the MPs' management of the Tamir investigation. Tamir's attorney Moshe Yisrael said he would appeal the court's decision. "I believe that the sentence is a severe mistake. There are contradictions and it is inconsistent with previous cases," he said. "There wasn't an element of lying, no obstruction of justice, and it is one of the most inappropriate outcomes I have ever come across."