Tannenbaum demotion process starts

IDF judge requests panel to rule on lowering rank of alleged traitor to private.

Elhanan Tannenbaum (photo credit: GPO)
Elhanan Tannenbaum
(photo credit: GPO)
Judge Advocate General Brig.-Gen. Avichai Mandelblit asked president of the IDF Appeals Court, Maj.-Gen. Yishai Bar, to convene a judicial panel which will rule on lowering the rank of businessman Elhanan Tannenbaum, abducted by Hizbullah in 2000, from colonel to private. Tannenbaum, who was returned to Israel in 2003 in a prisoner swap with Hizbullah, initially claimed he had traveled abroad to uncover information on missing-in-action IAF navigator Ron Arad, but later admitted that he left the country in pursuit of a drug deal. "It is my belief that he did not just use his post to deal drugs, but to pass on sensitive security information to the Hizbullah, who would clearly pass that information on to Syria and Iran," MK Yuval Steinitz (Likud) said. Tannenbaum, who was given a polygraph test three years ago, denied handing over classified military intelligence to Hizbullah. "Because of a deal with the attorney-general, Tannenbaum never went to trial, and we were told that the IDF could not strip him of his rank unless he went through a trial," said Steinitz, who at the time was head of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. Steinitz used his committee to pass legislature aimed at changing the law and allowing the IDF to demote Tannenbaum from his title. Last week, Steinitz issued an ultimatum to the IDF, calling on it to demote Tannenbaum without a trial. If they failed to do so, wrote the MK, he would take the issue to the High Court.