Netanyahu, Gallant ‘fully back’ the IDF, ‘reject any attack’ on top security officials

Nevertheless, some Likud members remain outspoken in their scathing criticism of IDF chief Halevi and other top officials in the security establishment.

By World Israel News Staff

In a joint statement on Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant declared their complete support for the IDF and condemned recent attacks on senior Israeli security officials.

Netanyahu and Gallant “are working together in close cooperation and give full backing to the IDF Chief-of-Staff and to the officers of the IDF in order to ensure the security of the state and its citizens,” the statement read.

“The Prime Minister and the Defense Minister reject any attack on senior security establishment officials and fully back the commanders and soldiers of the IDF, who are working day and night for the security of Israel.”

The statement comes following criticism leveled against the IDF chief and other senior security officials made by members of the governing coalition, including Netanyahu’s Likud party.

“There is a rebellion within the IDF. In every regular army, rebels are treated the way rebels should be treated,” Regional Cooperation Minister David Amsalem (Likud) told Army Radio on Tuesday.

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Gallant responded: “I’m turning to the elected officials: If you can’t contain yourselves, attack me, the Defense Minister. I am in charge of the chief-of-staff and the commander of the Air Force. Take the IDF out of the political discussion, it is the defensive tool that grants life to the people of Israel.”

Last month, following a discussion about the impact on the IDF’s operational readiness should reservists follow through on their threats to refuse to serve, Minister of the Diaspora Amichai Chikli called the phenomenon “criminal” and “despicable.”

“When [the government] becomes subject to the [whims of the] army, we will be Turkey or Egypt. I have no intention of putting up with this,” Chikli told Hebrew-language Mako.

“If the Knesset does not enact one law or another because military personnel threaten not to serve, there is one definition for this – we become a junta on the same day. That’s a military dictatorship, a real dictatorship. We don’t have the luxury to submit to such threats.”

MK Tali Gottlieb (Likud) tweeted on Wednesday, “It is our duty to fully condemn [the defense officials]! And apologize? Only because the chief of staff is still in his role, the same chief of staff who legitimized refusals by his silence.”

Referring to a Channel 12 report last week that senior security officials were threatening to publicize the IDF’s lessened capabilities should the reforms be passed – a threat denied by the army and security agencies, Gottlieb wrote: “Mr. Prime Minister, why are you apologizing for nothing? What right does a government have to exist if we remain silent when the IDF’s top brass considered issuing a statement regarding their competence in a way that would play into the hands of our enemies and seriously harm our national resilience?

Yair Netanyahu, the prime minister’s son, known for his controversial posts on social media, said on Facebook Monday that IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi “will be remembered as the most failed and destructive chief of staff in the history of the IDF” for his failure to crack down on the phenomenon of refusal to serve.” He later deleted the post.

“The chief of staff and heads of the security establishment should call on all army refusers and tell them you either show up or we will manage without you,” MK Avihai Buaron (Likud) told the haredi Kol Berama radio station Wednesday.

On Sunday, Netanyahu summoned Halevi for an “urgent” meeting focusing on the military’s operational readiness amid threats by military reservists to refuse to serve due to the controversial judicial reforms.

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