From the outset, Galant's candidacy was mired in controversy because of tensions between Galant and the current chief, CoS Ashkenazi, as well as Galant's connections to politicians and businesspeople. An undercurrent media campaign against Galant was brewing at the same time, including the alleged hiring of an ad company (the same one used by the Kadima party) with details on how to besmirch Galant. Ehud Barak favored Galant, and put the whole weight of his position as Defense Minister to push forward the candidacy. The government decided on Barak's recommendation, and Galant was hailed as the new Chief of Staff.
Haaretz wrote at the time:
Galant, 51, joined the navy commandos in 1977 and held a series of command positions in the elite Shayetet 13 unit. During that period he managed to spend two years on leave from the army, traveling to Alaska and worked as a lumberjack. On his return to the IDF, he completed naval officer training and served as second in comman of a missile boat. Afterwards, he returned to the Shayetet, was appointed commander of a company and promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel.A lumberjack?!
And then, just when it looked like all was well...the Environmentalists got into the act. And rightfully so. (Galant's home pictured on the right)
According to the State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss' report, designated Chief of Staff Yoav Galant seized public land near his home in Moshav Amikam after his request to lease it was denied.So Galant, lied, stole land, and tried to get away with it. Also annoying was the report in this past weekend's Makor Rishon newspaper. Galant requested that the olive trees he planted on the land he stole which surrounds his home, not be uprooted, "so as not to uproot what is planted" (אל תעקור נטוע).
He planned for the entrance to the property and the driveway to be on public land, and therefore situated his home and the entrance to it in an area that was not included in the original building permit," the report says. "Galant confirmed this was his intention on a number of occasions."
The report also mentions that in 2007 the State Prosecutor's Office said Galant "did not act innocently throughout the affair."
After Lindenstrauss determined Thursday that Galant withheld the truth in depositions he signed, seized public land and only requested permits after the fact, it appears as though the newly published details move him further away from the chief of staff's office. (YNET)
Galant, who was the military attache for Ariel Sharon during the 2005 "Disengagement from Gaza" had more sympathy for his own personal olive trees (planted on stolen land) asking that they not be uprooted, than any opinion he ever publicly expressed concerning the uprooting of 8000 Jews from their homes.
Israel's attorney general announced he wouldn't be able to adequately defend Galant's appointment if challenged in Israel's Supreme Court...and Galant's candidacy was discarded by Ehud Barak.
The fiasco doesn't end there -- Barak despises current CoS Gabi Ashkenazi so much, that instead of simply requesting that Ashkenazi extend his term by another 6 months to a year, Barak has decided to hastily fill the position with Major General Yair Naveh.
With major security challenges facing Israel; from Egypt to Iran to Lebanon to Gaza to the PA...now is not the time for a temporary band-aid solution. Ashekanzi should remain, Ehud Barak should try to keep his ego in check, and a proper IDF Chief of Staff should be found.
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