Former IDF commander Gadi Eisenkot hints at political career

Chief of staff who retired from the IDF last year says he “wants to make a difference again,” but by law has to stay out of politics until 2022.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Former IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot said Thursday he is considering entering politics because “I want to make a difference again.”

He would join a long line of other former top army commanders who used their military careers as a springboard to politics. Three former chiefs of staff are currently serving in the Knesset: Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who chairs the Blue and White Party; Foreign Minister Gadi Ashkenazi, who is Gantz’s political deputy in the party, and opposition Telem Party chairman Moshe Yaalon.

“I want to make an impact again… I want to make the country better,” Eisenkot said in an interview with Israel Hayom, adding that he understands getting things done in the political world is very different from what he experienced in his long military career.

“In the military, once you decide, everyone does what you have decided. In politics, once you make a decision, everyone works to thwart it,” Eisenkot said.

The affable former top general does have experience with the political echelon, having served as as military secretary to former prime ministers Ariel Sharon and Ehud Barak, another former IDF commander.

Of the 22 generals who have served as Israel’s top soldier in command of the IDF, Yitzhak Rabin and Ehud Barak became prime minister, Gantz is slated to be prime minister in November next year, and 10 others have served in the Knesset.

Eisenkot said that after a year and a half of staying in his “personal comfort zone,” he wants to return.

“After landing and staying in a comfort zone you look at what is happening here, and you want to make a better country and make an impact, and come up with a shine in your eyes.”

Recalling his time as military secretary to two prime ministers, Eisenkot said he was with them for 12-16 hours a day.

“I saw from close up that impact was through leadership and through the [political] systems. Sharon told me he appreciated thinking and planning, but most importantly, it was performance.”

Eisenkot talked about how the government accepted his recommendations for action against Iran, which supports the Hamas and Hezbollah terror organizations on Israel’s borders. While the Israeli public may not see it, Iran’s efforts against Israel have been pushed back in the last four years and the Islamic Republic was prevented from establishing a Syrian front against Israel, he said.

In the past, Eisenkot denied he had political ambitions, and a ‘cooling off’ law requires all former senior security officials interested in serving in the Knesset to wait three years after leaving their job, meaning Eisenkot can only run for office starting in January of 2022.