Shock and awe via PR? The dramatic revelation of the "Galant document" – an alleged campaign outlining GOC Southern Command Major-General Yoav Galant's plan to conquer the position of chief of staff – has reportedly raised tensions in the top ranks of the IDF to new levels.
The document, made public by Channel 2 news Friday, supposedly suggests Galant can best achieve his goal by "presenting a negative image" of his competitor, Major-General Benny Gantz and current IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi.
Nevertheless, the document is believed to be a forgery. Eyal Arad, whose consulting firm was linked to the document, denied any involvement; and several military sources told Ynet such a move was not above those trying to discrete Galant as the leading candidate for the position.
Galant, it seems, prefers to stay quiet. IDF Spokesman Brigadier-General Avi Benayahu reportedly spoke with him on the matter, but Galant seems to believe that despite the short-term damage, he may still come up on top.
The Southern Command chief (52), has known his share of battles, but the current battlefield may pose new challenges for him.
Galant began his military career as an officer in the Naval Commando, and became the elite unit's commander in 1997. His future positions took him out of the Navy: he served as GOC Army Headquarters and former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's military secretary, and in 2005 he assumed leadership of the Southern Command.
It was no secret that Galant eyes the deputy chief of staff position, en route to becoming Israel's No.1 soldier. Gantz was named to the position, and Galant decided to wait for the decision on the new chief.
Mud slinging, military styleGalant is considered a diplomat and has never publicly spoken about the position he craves and neither have any of his close associates.
Galant is said to bring to the race only his true value – years of operational experience. And he is well aware that the race includes interests which are foreign to that consideration.
Friday's broadcast was somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophecy, as Galant found himself – mere hours after meeting with Defense Minister Ehud Barak as part of the screening process – facing the kind of publicity that may hurt not only his chances in the current race, but also as a public figure.
It is not for nothing, military sources said, that Arad's name was linked to the document. Arad is considered "less than popular" with both Barak and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Galant's association with him would be perceived as problematic.
Galant is a battle savvy commander, who has chosen to face the latest onslaught with his signature cool composure. Whatever his conclusions as to the possible perpetrators are, he is keeping them to himself.
This may be a new battlefield for Galant, but as one of the officers familiar with the race said, "If you want to be chief of staff you have to be able to sail through such things with elegance. It's a different kind of challenge."
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