Nahum Barnea

A targeted assassination

Op-ed: Should Yoav Galant’s appointment as IDF chief of staff hinge on real estate issues?

Wednesday night, when Yoav Galant read the state comptroller’s report, he was relieved. He was looking for words like “lies,” “untruth” and “theft,” and when he didn’t find them, he reached the conclusion that the report clears him. His honor had been restored and the path to the army chief appointment had been cleared.


Yet he was wrong. The comptroller, in a very sophisticated way, carried out a targeted assassination.


Wednesday evening, he handed over his report to the attorney general. Thursday morning, the comptroller decided to issue a statement that highlighted the four junctions where he found flaws in Galant’s conduct (the fifth point reprimands the officials who handled Galant’s affairs.) The statement was factual, laconic and minimalistic. Yet the comptroller, former judge Lindenstrauss, is familiar with the media’s psyche. All the incriminating words that Galant was spared in the report played a prominent role in the news programs: Lies, untruth, and land theft. Minister Michael Eitan called Galant a mobster the other night. That was a wild exaggeration.


The comptroller had sewn the wind. He should have known in advance that he will be reaping the whirlwind.


Seemingly, Lindenstrauss left the decision up to Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein. In fact, the comptroller placed a gun on Weinstein’s desk: The attorney general is hereby invited to shoot Galant. Should Weinstein fail to do so, he will be shot himself.


The attorney general is not supposed to appoint chiefs of staff. He is also not supposed to look into their integrity. What is expected now is for Weinstein to submit the comptroller’s full report to the government. The government in turn will submit the report to the Turkel committee appointed to pick the next army chief. The committee will then reconsider its decision to endorse Galant’s nomination. Next, the High Court will review the decision. Should Galant persist in his refusal to withdraw his candidacy, this should be the way to do it.


Barak defeated again  

Galant’s conduct as reflected through the comptroller’s report is outrageous. One can expect a law-abiding citizen not to be a squatter, not to build and pave without permit, and show accuracy in every affidavit and request submitted to authorities. This is all the more so when the citizen in question is an IDF major general.


Galant has explanations for all his acts and misdeeds. Some of them are convincing. Others are problematic. Yet the participants in the public discourse taking place over this issue must honestly ask themselves whether the candidate’s real estate assets are the essence here.


An army chief is appointed and nobody shows any interest in whether he is the most suitable candidate in terms of skill. Nobody asks for his views on striking Iran’s nuclear program or on negotiations with Syria. Yet the picture of his villa drives everyone crazy.

In addition, nobody is asking what would happen should Galant’s candidacy be rejected, only to find out that the next candidate also has enemies that seek to file complaints, skeletons in the closet, sins that are better forgotten, and a nice looking villa.


The entanglement in appointing the army chief does not only embarrass the IDF General Staff. The first to be embarrassed is Ehud Barak. In the bottom line, the defense minister has been defeated again. It appears that anywhere he goes, he leaves behind scorched earth. Someone who used to work with him in the past told me the other night: You saw what Barak did to the Labor Party. He just did the same to the IDF.


Israel can manage without one party or another. It would be hard to carry on without the IDF. I very much hope that the person who made the above statement was exaggerating.



פרסום ראשון: 01.28.11, 14:17
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