Brig. Gen. (res.) Avichai Rontzki, the former Chief IDF Rabbi, was dismissed from reserve duty after providing Economy Minister Naftali Bennett with classified information during Operation Protective Edge, it was revealed Tuesday.
According to reports, Rontzki passed Bennett information on orders given to soldiers on how to deal with the tunnels threat.
An investigation conducted within the defense establishment revealed Rontzki's actions and he was personally disciplined by the IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz.
The IDF Spokesman's Office said that "for obvious reasons, we will not address internal discussions the chief of staff holds."
The IDF Spokesman's Office also refused to explain how it is possible for a citizen to in reserve duty to put on his uniforms of his own accord and attended sensitive operational briefings.
Rontzki, who is currently abroad, denied the reports. "This never was and never existed. I'm a close friend of Bennett's, but the friendship is not a secret. I've never provided him with information from the IDF. This is the first time I'm hearing these claims. The chief of staff and defense minister know me personally and no one told me I was dismissed from reserve duty. I was even called for duty after Protective Edge."
Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon criticized the conduct of some of the members of the Security Cabinet during the Gaza operation. "I hope the cabinet ministers have learned their lesson," he said.
"Their conduct led to a heavy price during the fighting. The other side saw how we were close to crumbling and dividing. Under no circumstances can ministers speak to officers without my permission and knowledge. There was such communications, but it's illegitimate, inappropriate and was handled," Ya'alon added.
Sources in Bennett's office responded harshly to the accusations against the economy minister, claiming that "the anonymous slander is a disgrace. Minister Bennett is proud of his actions that have led to the operation against the tunnels and saved lives. Minister Bennett's actions during Protective Edge, in the midst of the failure to treat the tunnel threat, saved the residents of Netiv HaAsara and Nahal Oz."
"For many weeks, while Bennett demanded over and over again to go on a campaign for the destruction of the tunnels, there were security-political elements that stopped his initiative and dismissed the threat, which left the southern community exposed to a strategic terror attack. This is what is expected (of Bennett) and this is an appropriate behavior for a member of Israel's Security Cabinet."