IDF chief of staff wants Army Radio off his hands

Kochavi told Gantz he no longer wants IDF Radio under Army control.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi wants Army Radio marched off and he doesn’t care to where.

Kochavi said the Army doesn’t need a radio station in private talks with Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Israel’s Channel 12 reported on Monday.

Kochavi didn’t offer ideas as to which branch of government should take it over, just so long as it’s not the Army, the report says.

Israel’s Army Radio has been steeped in controversy for years, accused of left-wing political bias.

The political controversy is what drove Kochavi to ask that Army Radio be removed from his purview. Kochavi reportedly said in the meeting with Gantz that he finds himself constantly forced to act as a “spokesman” for Army Radio and defend it in whatever the latest dust-up happens to be. Kochavi said it happens too often.

Gantz will be forced to take a position on the matter given Kochavi’s direct request, the report says.

According to Channel 12, Army Radio responded, “We will not address things said in private conversations between the defense minister and the chief of the general staff.”

This isn’t the first time that a chief of staff has asked that Army Radio be taken off the military’s hands. As IDF Chief of Staff, Gadi Eisenkot also made the request. It seems Army Radio is the IDF’s red-headed stepchild.

Ironically, given its history of left-wing politics, it’s a political commentator with a right-wing bent, Yaakov Bardugo, who  has senior army brass upset about politicization at the station.

“Bardugo’s expanding influence at the station – he gets more airtime than any other broadcaster or commentator there – is making senior IDF officers and station officials increasingly angry,” Haaretz reports on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has publicly supported Bardugo, tweeting he’s the “one broadcaster on Army Radio who isn’t prepared to toe the line of the left and the guild.”