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Photo: Shalom Bar-Tal
Maj. Gen. (res) Gabi Ashkenazi - 19th Chief of Staff (almost)
Photo: Shalom Bar-Tal
Photo: Dudi Vaaknin
Maj. Gen. Kaplinsky - Officers pleading with him to stay
Photo: Dudi Vaaknin
Brigade commanders arriving at Kaplinsky's home on Friday
Photo: Yaron Brenner
Tirkel committee to determine Ashkenazi's fate
Gov't won't ok appointment of chief of staff until committee led by ex-High Court Justice approves. Meanwhile army prepares for all possible personnel scenarios

The government will not be approving the appointment of Maj. Gen. (res) Gabi Ashkenazi as chief of staff on Sunday. Ashkenazi will have to wait an addition week as former High Court Justice Yaakov Tirkel convenes the committee charged with approving senior public positions to discuss the appointment. The committee collected all the information its members deemed necessary to consider before giving Ashkenazi the green light.

 

The Tirkel committee also authorizes the appointment the head of the Mossad, commissioner of the prison authority, head of the Shin Bet, governor of the Bank of Israel and his deputy.

 

After the committee rules on the matter the government expects to complete the process of appointing Ashkenazi without significant difficulties and the official ceremony may even be held in as little as ten days. There will be little for Ashkenazi to learn due to his current role as deputy director of the ministry of defense. He has remained involved in virtually all of the military's activities since he left in 2004 after losing the bid for chief of staff to Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz, who is now resigning after the military's conduct during the last war in Lebanon drew heavy criticism.

 

Kaplinksky to stay?

For the time being Ashkenazi is maintaining a low profile in terms of his expected appointment, at least as far as the general public is concerned. He has, however, spoken with current Deputy Chief of Staff Moshe Kaplinsky, who had also been considered to replace Halutz but ultimately withdrew his candidacy, and asked Kaplinsky to stay on as his deputy.

 

In a rare move several IDF field brigade commanders visited Kaplinsky at his home in Gedera on Friday and urged him to stay and take part in the rehabilitation of the army. The senior officers arrived at Kaplinsky's home in civilian dress and the meeting, though informal, was of great significance as the officers in question come from the IDF's infantry and armory field units, therefore offering the viewpoint of the thousands of combat officers and soldiers under their command.

 

"The commanders want Kaplinsky to stay – and not just for a few months to help ease in Ashkenazi, but for a longer period of time," said a military source.

 

Kaplinsky has said that he will stay, but did not commit to any specific timeframe. Ashkenazi himself was unaware of the meeting. Throughout the IDF's ranks many hope that Kaplinsky will not only stay but that

with the completion of his term as deputy chief of staff he will be offered a position which will allow him to remain in the army until the end of Ashkenazi's term and the time for the appointment of the next chief of staff.

 

However in the meantime the military is preparing for every possible scenario and in recent days names of possible replacements for Kaplinsky have begun to circulate, including former Southern Command Chief Maj. Gen. Dan Harel who is currently serving as the IDF's military attaché in Washington.

 

 

 

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