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Photo: Ronen Boidak
Netanyahu. Consulted with Olmert
Photo: Ronen Boidak
Halutz. Who will replace him?
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Netanyahu: We need army chief who can face Iran
Prime Minister Olmert initiates round of consultations on appointing new chief of staff, meets with Opposition Chairman Netanyahu. Netanyahu says, 'We need chief of staff who will prepare army for threats facing country, firstly the Iranian threat'

Opposition Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu met Thursday afternoon with the prime minister and discussed the appointment of a new chief of staff with him.

 

Netanyahu said, "A chief of staff must be chosen that will recover the IDF's pride, reinstate Israel's deterrence, and who will prepare the army for the threats facing the country, firstly the Iranian threat."

 

According to Netanyahu, "The next chief of staff needs to have leadership capability and experience." He promised that the Likud will support any chief of staff the prime minister chooses.

 

Defense Minister Amir Peretz said Thursday that the IDF has learned the lessons from the Lebanon war.

 

During a memorial service for the casualties on the INS Dakar submarine that was held on Mount Herzl, Peretz said, "The IDF, under the chief of staff's leadership, has undergone a long, thorough, and intense process of investigations and lesson-learning following the last war in Lebanon. I, as someone who was personally involved in this process, can wholeheartedly say that this is an important process of reexamination."

 

Peretz noted, "The sinking of the Dakar was a difficult blow for the Navy. It went down during the Six Day War at the same time as the sinking of the INS Eilat destroyer, but the Navy wasn't broken. This was a turning point for recovery, and this is a good example of the IDF's capability of learning lessons, overcoming malfunctions, and improving."

 

Chief of Staff Dan Halutz, who also participated in the ceremony, refrained from referring to his resignation, and only spoke of those lost on the submarine.

 

'A consensual candidate within 10 days'

The Prime Minister's Office said Thursday that by next weekend, the candidate for the IDF's next chief of staff, whom the prime minister and defense minister have approved, will be presented.

 

According to expectations, the cabinet will be asked to authorize the appointment in the middle of February after it will also be confirmed by the committee lead by High Court Justice Yaakov Tirkel.

 

Olmert's round of consultations continued Thursday in the Prime Minister's Office in order to establish who will take over Halutz's position.

 

The PMO noted that although according to the law, the defense minister is expected to recommend the candidate, and the prime minister is expected to authorize it, "it has never happened that the two figures didn't agree on the candidate."

 

Olmert and Peretz agreed between them to hold a professional and concise process in order to avoid disagreements. "We believe that by next weekend, there will be an agreed-upon candidate," said a senior official in the Jerusalem office.

 

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