Defense minister decides not to wait until end of investigation into ‘Galant document,’ informs cabinet he has chosen Southern Command chief as next chief of staff. Ministers to approve appointment next week.
PM Netanyahu says decision ‘wise’.
By Roni Sofer
Defense Minister Ehud Barak informed the cabinet meeting on Sunday that he had chosen Southern Command Chief Yoav Galant to serve as the next chief of staff.
Barak will bring the decision for authorization in the cabinet after he consults with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
In doing so, Barak did not wait until the end of the police investigation into the forgery of the “Galant document.”
“Because of the current state of affairs, the appointment must be made quickly in order to reinstate stability within the IDF,” said Barak.
Minister Moshe Ya’alon asked Barak what the rush is, but the other ministers with a rich military past expressed their support of the decision.
Prime Minister Netanyahu praised the decision during the cabinet meeting. “This is the wise move because uncertainty exacts a high price. The situation created necessitates a speedy decision that can move forward the next round of appointments in the IDF. This is a good move that will bring back stability to the military’s echelons,” he said.
A statement issued by Barak’s office stated, “The minister completed in recent days a round of talks with the five candidates for chief of staff, including Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Benny Gantz, Central Command Chief Maj. Gen. Avi Mizrahi, Northern Command Chief Gadi Eizenkot, and the military attaché in Washington Gadi Shamni. The minister expressed his esteem for each one of the candidates as asked them to remain in the IDF and continue contributing to it. He added that the decision between candidates was not easy because each of them is worthy.”
Barak described Galant as “a vetern officer with diverse and rich operational experience, proven leadership qualities, and the capability to lead the IDF through the challenges facing it and the State of Israel.”
Minister Ya’alon asserted that the damage caused by such an appointment outweighs its benefits.
Ya’alon, a former chief of staff himself, suggested that the decision not be brought for the cabinet’s authorization next week because he believes it was made to hastily as not all the facts have come to light in the Galant document affair, especially regarding the role of various high-ranking generals, including Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi.
Galant document mystery still brewing
The Galant document, made public by Channel 2 news some two weeks ago, suggested Galant will best achieve his goal of becoming the next IDF chief of staff, by “presenting a negative image” of rival, Major-General Benny Gantz and current IDF Chief of Staff Ashkenazi.
The scandal has placed the entire military brass under scrutiny, including Ashkenazi himself and Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Nevertheless, the police announced Thursday that both, as well as several other high-ranking military officials, were cleared.
While the police have concluded the brunt of the investigation, the question still remains who authored the document and the role of current Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi. Ashkenazi apparently was in possession of the document for many weeks and did nothing with it, except notify Gantz and Eizenkot of its content.
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