Brigadier-General Imad Fares has come to the end of his road in the Israel Defense Forces. Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi on Thursday notified the former Galilee Division commander that he has decided to dismiss him from the military for omitting facts.
Fares was convicted of failure to uphold orders and of military document offenses after he allowed his wife to drive his military-issued vehicle and telling his commander he was in the vehicle with her when she got into a minor accident.
During the meeting between Ashkenazi and Fares, which was held at the Kirya army base in Tel Aviv and lasted over an hour, the chief of staff proposed that Fares step down from his post of his own initiative. The former commander refused, and Ashkenazi informed him that he does not plan to allow him to continue serving in the IDF.
The IDF Spokesperson's Unit said, "Since Brigadier-General Imad Fares' conduct contradicted the values of credibility and truthfulness, which are some of the IDF's central values and are the air the military breathes, the chief of staff informed Brigadier-General Fares that he has concluded his service and will be dismissed from the IDF.
"The chief of staff notes that this was a difficult decision, but, to his dismay, he cannot ignore the severity of the act, despite Brig.-Gen. Fares' many virtues over the year as a fighter and as an esteemed commander, who led his fighters on all fronts of combat, out of a sense of sacrifice and resolve."
Brig.-Gen. Fares before meeting with Ashkenazi (Photo: Yuval Hen)
On Sunday, Deputy Chief of Staff Benny Gantz convicted Fars and gave him a warning and a reprimand. Fares refused to be tried in a disciplinary action before Maj. Gen. Danny Biton, head of Technological and Logistics Directorate. Thus, it was decided that the deputy chief of staff would try him.
The disciplinary action lasted several hours. Fares argued his case, and was asked to leave the room a number of times before the deputy chief of staff informed him of his decision. However, Deputy Military Advocate General Colonel Sharon Ofek ruled that alongside the disciplinary act, the chief of staff would take a "befitting command move".
Some two months ago, in a surprising move, the chief of staff decided to terminate Brigadier-General Moshe (Chico) Tamir's military service after the decorated Gaza Division commander tried to cover up an accident which occurred during his 14-year-old son's joyride in his military-issued all-terrain vehicle.
Ashkenazi ruled that, due to the circumstances of the incident, Tamir could not remain in the military, and decided not to appoint the senior officer to another post.
Not giving up
Immediately after being notified of Ashkenazi's decision to dismiss him, Fares requested to meet with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, in an attempt to appeal the decision.
Fares' aides said the decision does not reflect the chain of events, is not proportionate, and that even when an officer errs, his past and contribution to the IDF should be taken into account.
"Ultimately, after all these months, everyone understands that Imad Fares made a mistake, maybe he wasn't specific with the details, maybe he should have been more precise in the matter, but he is not a liar, and he therefore should have been treated differently. This is why he plans to present his position to the defense minister," one of his aides said.
31 years of serviceBrigadier-General Fares enlisted to the IDF in 1979, to the Baram division's reconnaissance troop, where he served as a combat soldier and later become a company commander. He served for a long period in Lebanon, and took part in the Lebanon War's "Peace for Galilee" operation.
In 1998, he was appointed commander of the Gaza Division's southern brigade, and later became commander of the Givati Brigade, deputy commander of the Gaash Division, commander of the Adom Division, and ultimately, commander of the Galilee Division.
The current affair is not Fares' first debacle. In July 2004, he was convicted of four counts of disorderly conduct, following altercations with police officers across the country. The court ruled that despite his slip-ups, Fares was worthy of a promotion in his post and rank.
Fares is also to stand trial for speeding, after being caught driving 157km/h in a 90 km/h zone. His trial in this matter has been postponed several times.