Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu summoned Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon to his office on Monday for a “clarification meeting” after the two came head to head on Sunday evening in a public exchange of remarks regarding the IDF, YNET reports.
Speaking to the IDF’s top brass, including the IDF chief and other generals, Ya’alon urged the military leadership to “continue acting according to human conscience and compass, rather than follow the direction the wind blows.”
While the defense minister was still speaking at the ceremony in the Kirya Army Headquarters in Tel Aviv, the Prime Minister’s Office released a statement saying “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives his full backing to the IDF, its commanders and soldiers.
The PMO statement went on to further condemn a controversial statement made by Deputy IDF Chief Yair Golan on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, noting that “the prime minister remains steadfast in his opinion that the comparison (of events unfolding in Israel) to Nazi Germany was inappropriate, made at an inappropriate time, and caused Israel damage on the international stage. The IDF’s commanders freely speak their minds—in relevant forums and on topics under their purview. The IDF is the army of the people, and should be kept out of political disputes.”
“A good army is one whose commanders, both junior and senior, feel confident in their ability to speak their minds at any given time, knowing they will not suffer for it,” Ya’alon said on Sunday evening.
“Do not fear, do not hesitate, do not be deterred. Continue to be brave not just on the battle field, but also around the discussions table. Keep speaking your mind. Do so even if what you have to say is not in line with the consensus, and even if it disputes ideas and positions that the senior command or the political echelons adopted. This is my demand from you, senior IDF commanders, and this should be your demand of your subordinates.”
Ya’alon warned that “over the past few months, we have found ourselves fighting against an extremist minority that acts both on the ground and on social media. A part of this fringe group also made its way to the mainstream, under cover and guise, and is trying to influence the character and values of the IDF.”
“This is a significant struggle like no other, perhaps the most vital and important one in many years,” Ya’alon said. “Not just over the character of the IDF, but also the character of Israeli society. The continued undermining of the moral and ethical strength of the IDF and of Israeli society will be disastrous for the State of Israel. I will admit to you that the issue has caused me to lose sleep, but it also makes me determined to win this battle. As someone who received the world and all that is in it from the IDF, and acknowledges the importance of safeguarding its values, I have no intention to back down on the matter. For me, and I know that for you as well, this is my true mission.”
Read more at YNET.