By Edgar Asher, Ashernet
Defense Minister Ehud Barak recommended that that theIsraeli government choose the current commander of IDF Southern Command, Major General Yoav Galant, as the next IDF Chief of Staff.
The recommendation will be submitted for formal government approval next week.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the announcement said that it is the right step towards the goal of reinstating a stable and good command at the top of the army.
The situation which was created requires a quick decision, because uncertainty has an expensive price.
The selection process has been very controversial. It was expected that the present Chief of Staff, Lt. General Gabi Ashkenazi would be given a year’s extension to his present four-year term, but due mainly to internal friction in the Defense Ministry, Barak would not agree to this accepted extension.
Another problem was a campaign against the Galant appointment which centered on a forged document that became known as the Galant Affair. Read the related IJN editorial
The full story has yet to emerge, but in all probability the affair centers on the higher echelons of the IDF resistant to the ultimate civilian control of the IDF that has been a feature of Israeli democracy since the time of David Ben Gurion.
It is clear that Ehud Barak, himself a former IDF Chief of Staff, but now a civilian Defense Minister, is making clear that he and the Prime Minister are the government officials who say, in the final analysis, exactly who runs the IDF.
Barak is in effect telling the present Chief of Staff that the IDF is subject to the authority of the government, not the other way around.