As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak consider a new candidate for the post of IDF chief of staff, Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant said over the weekend that he has not given up on the job and insists that his name be included on the new list of candidates.
Galant - whose appointment as army chief was revoked last week after Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein released a legal opinion citing ethical problems with the appointment - was interviewed Friday night on three different television channels. During the interviews he reiterated his claim that the appointment was unjustly canceled and that he had not been given sufficient time to respond to the accusations directed against him.
The Israel Defense Forces general stressed that, unlike the legal and judicial authority in the process of state decision making, the ethical and moral authority in this case lies not in the hands of the attorney general, but in the hands of the executive.
"I did not lie, I did not deceive anyone or lead anyone astray, and certainly did not behave maliciously," Galant said in an interview with Channel 1 reporter Ayala Hasson. "I am sorry about mistakes I made in the area of planning and construction, but this is a process that developed from a very small thing to a very big thing that was taken out of proportion.
"In matters of integrity and honesty, I have led soldiers for 34 years - and they have followed me because they believed in me," he continued. "With all due respect to the attorney general, he is not the ethical or moral authority. The authority [in this matter] lies in the hands of the executive."
Galant maintained that he is still in line for the post of chief of staff, and said he planned to appear before the cabinet that previously approved his appointment to convince them once more that he should be the next IDF chief.
"I am certain that when the ministers weigh out the matter, they will make a decision based on leadership, not bureaucracy," Galant said. "I have led soldiers on all fronts for 34 years, and that is why they selected me. We are in an unstable region and when we are faced with challenges it is best that the military is headed by someone who can make the correct decisions, and who, in times of emergency, will win."
"What was done to me was intentional, organized, planned - and broke out at the last minute before the appointment," he said, referring to the Harpaz document (which was initially known as the Galant document ).
"It is unacceptable for a document [the Harpaz document] to be held by a commander - which includes details about his conduct - and that he holds on to it for months, then uses it like a roadside bomb, and then it's just swept away without comment," Galant said during an interview on Channel 2 with journalist Yair Lapid.
Galant is due to appear tomorrow before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee for a special session on the process of the appointment. Barak is set to appear before a subcommittee of the same body on Tuesday, where he will present his version of the story.
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