The escalating conflict in Syria
and the growing concern that Bashar Assad's
army was gearing towards using chemical weapons did not stop three of Israel's top leaders from travelling abroad – all at the same time.
While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
and Defense Minister Ehud Barak
made an official visit to Europe, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz left for a sensitive work visit to "a friendly state" on Monday, Yedioth Ahoronoth reported on Thursday.
Vice Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon is replacing Netanyahu during his absence, while Home Front Defense Minister Avi Dichter is acting for Barak. Gantz is being replaced by his deputy, Major General Yair Naveh.
Barak, Netanyahu with Czech PM Petr Necas (Photo: Reuters)
Sources within the army criticized the leaders' "irresponsible" behavior, noting they cannot recall a case in recent history when a prime minister, a defense minister and the IDF chief were all out of the country simultaneously.
Netanyahu's bureau dismissed the concerns, saying in a statement that the three are travelling on state business and are maintaining continuous contact with their replacements, "all of whom are very experienced."