Controversy surrounds IDF chief candidate who compared Israel to pre-Nazi Germany

Yair Golan, a candidate for the position of IDF chief of staff, commented in 2016 that contemporary Israel provides evidence of “horrifying processes that took place in Europe in general and in Germany in particular, 70, 80 and 90 years ago.”  

By: World Israel News Staff

The Zionist NGO Im Tirtzu and the Choosing Life Forum for bereaved families on Sunday launched a campaign against the appointment of Maj. Gen. Yair Golan as the next IDF chief of staff following his previous controversial statements.

In a letter sent to Minister of Defense Avigdor Liberman signed by some 100 families, they noted some of Golan’s offensive statements, including one made a decade ago in which he said that he would rather endanger soldiers in order to avoid the unnecessary killing of a 60-year-old woman.

In his most infamous statement, Golan said during a Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony that “if there is something that frightens me in the memory of the Holocaust, it is the identification of horrifying processes that took place in Europe in general and in Germany in particular, 70, 80 and 90 years ago, and finding evidence for them here in our midst today in 2016.”

He added that “there is nothing easier and simpler than hatred of the stranger, and nothing is easier and simpler than to provoke fear and terror.”

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Golan was named as one of four candidates for the position of chief of staff following the resignation of current Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot at the end of this year. Liberman met with Golan last week as part of the appointment process.

Referring to the campaign against Golan on Monday, Liberman made it clear that he thought the campaign was unpersuasive and would not influence his selection of a candidate.

Golan “is an excellent officer and a courageous commander who dedicated his life to the security of the State of Israel,” Liberman tweeted. “The slander campaign against him in recent days is inappropriate and will have no effect on the appointment of the chief of staff.”

Eli Ben-Shem, chairman of the Yad Labanim organization for the IDF’s fallen soldiers, also condemned the campaign and said that Golan is a man of many merits who loves Israel.

“The time has come to end the cynical use of bereaved parents who want to use their personal bereavement to leverage their political agenda . . . . This is divisive discourse,” he stated.

“The fact that behind this forum is the Im Tirtzu movement, a clear political movement, . . . [which] mak[es] cynical use of [bereaved families] for . . . political purposes,” he added.