State Comptroller's recommendations for Knesset law

Recommendations include procedures for appointments of the IDF chief of staff.

State Comptroller Joseph Shapira 370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
State Comptroller Joseph Shapira 370
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The following is a list of recommendations brought forward in the State Comptroller’s Report:
• The process for appointing the IDF chief of staff should be clearly defined including specific criteria to evaluate candidates, such as professional background, operational experience and other objective data.
• The defense minister, who appoints the IDF chief of staff, should be obligated to consult with a specific set of advisers on the appointment, including past defense ministers, the current IDF chief of staff, former IDF chiefs of staff and the prime minister.
• The Knesset should pass a law clearly deciding whether the term of the IDF chief of staff will always be fixed, or whether there will always be a possibility for the term to be extended.
• The new law should define whether the basis for any extension can be broader and include “special circumstances,” meaning even as a reward for high achievement, or more limited to “emergency situations” only, such as an extension in the middle of an imminent security threat.
• The cabinet should approve a set date for the process to select a new IDF chief of staff, which the report says should start no earlier than four months before the end of the term of the current IDF chief of staff (whereas Defense Minister Ehud Barak made former IDF chief of staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi a “lame duck” around 10 months before his term was due to end).
The report does not directly make a recommendation on whether the defense minister must choose from a list of candidates submitted to him by the IDF chief of staff (as had been traditional until the most recent appointment process) or whether he can choose from outside that list (as Barak wanted), a source of major fighting between Ashkenazi and Barak. At the very least, the absence of a recommendation could weaken the traditional way appointments have been made and strengthen the defense minister’s discretion on the issue.