Defense Minister Ehud Barak met with Brigadier-General Imad Fares on Sunday and notified him he does not intend to challenge IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi's decision to terminate his army service.
During the meeting, held at Barak's office in Tel Aviv, Fares, the former Galilee Division commander, expressed his reservations over the decision. Barak praised Fares for his long stint in the IDF and expressed his deep appreciation for the latter's contribution to Israel's security.
Fares was put on a disciplinary trial after he allowed his wife to drive a military-issue vehicle, and failed to report a minor accident she was in as protocol dictates.
For one of the offenses – failure to uphold orders by allowing his wife to drive a vehicle despite it being prohibited by military order – Fares received a warning. For the military documents offense – in which he signed a document without reading and verifying its contents – he received a reprimand.
Ashkenazi 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 army.
Fares requested the meeting with Barak after being notified of the IDF chief's decision. One of his associates said, "On the one hand, Barak praised Imad's contribution to the IDF and Israel's security, but on the other hand he chose not to take a stand – this is unexpected from a man with a military background such as Barak's who realizes the importance of the service of senior officers such as Imad."
The confidante said many young Druze view Fares as a symbol and that Barak's decision is a blow to the minority group.
Sources close to Fares said he will discuss with his attorney the possibility of appealing to the High Court in hopes that it will overrule Ashkenazi's decision.
Brigadier-General Fares enlisted in 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.