Military Intelligence Director Major-General Amos Yadlin bid farewell to the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday morning, shortly before he is stripped of his uniform after more than five years in the sensitive role.
"I worked with two army chiefs, three defense ministers, and two prime ministers, went through two wars, and took care of only two nuclear programs," Yadlin said, apparently referring to both to Iran and Syria, although Israel has not confirmed involvement in the bombing of a Syrian reactor.
"I advise the next Military Intelligence chief not to try to please anyone but his own integrity," he added.
The committee chairman, Knesset Member Tzachi Hanegbi (Kadima), said at the start of the meeting that Yadlin had broken a record by serving in the Israel Defense Forces for 40 years.
"We sadly say goodbye," he said. "You were very critical towards yourself and we were exposed to huge achievements, which the majority of the public is unaware of and won't know about. Even when there were mishaps, you never concealed or covered them. I hope you follow in the footsteps of your father and grandfather, and contribute even more to the State of Israel."
Yadlin with Livni and Hanegbi (Photo: Noam Moskowitz)
The other committee members had nothing but praise for Yadlin as well. Opposition Chairwoman Tzipi Livni told the outgoing MI chief, "When you arrived at the decision making room, you always acted with integrity and in an unbiased manner. You allowed the leaders to make decisions which would affect the future of the State of Israel – decisions of life and death. I would like to thank you on behalf of the people of Israel."
MK Amir Peretz (Labor), a former defense minister, said Yadlin's main achievement was increasing the reliability of the intelligence establishment.
"Few among the people know that you are responsible for sending the best people on the toughest missions. I praise your ability to act courageously, both analyzing and recommending ways of action."
'Five years exactly'
MK Ronnie Bar-On (Kadima) said that "if there is a perfect definition for a civil servant, it's inside the uniform you're wearing."
MK Avi Dichter, a former Shin Bet chief, noted that "you always say what you think. In any forum, in the army, in the service heads' committee, we could always be sure that we were receiving the exact same briefing."
Yadlin summarized his service by saying, "All the compliments you have given me belong to my people, who work 365 days a year to gather information the enemy won't give us, which has to be brought from very difficult places, in order for me to present the intelligence estimate to my consumers."
According to Yadlin, an MI chief "must serve for exactly five year – not less – in order to move forward strategic procedures, and not more than five years because he might develop cautious mechanisms which could hurt his abilities. I ask you to treat the new Military intelligence chief, Major-General Aviv Kochavi, the way you treated me."
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