Galant Seeks for IDF Chief Position Despite Getting Ousted by Netanyahu, Barak

Former IDF chief-designate believes he still has a chance to assume the position since decision by Netanyahu, Barak to cancel his appointment has yet to come into effect.

Even after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak cancelled the appointment of Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant to the post of Israel Defense Forces chief of staff, Galant has decided to keep vying for the position.

Since the official decision has yet to come into effect, Galant is demanding that his name be included in the new list of candidates for the position of chief of staff, which will be presented before the Turkel Committee.

Yoav Galant
Tomer Appelbaum

Galant had decided to push the move because the retired judge Yaakov Turkel has given interviews since the decision to cancel Galant's appointment, in which he says the media attacked Galant and that he personally has no moral opposition to reexamine Galant's appointment if he will be presented with the additional information gathered by the state comptroller and the attorney general regarding the land expropriation affair.

Galant's appointment as next IDF chief was followed by months of scandal due to allegations that he had seized public lands near his home in Moshav Amikam in northern Israel. Galant was designated to succeed current IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi this month.

On Thursday, Galant harshly criticized State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss and Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein on Wednesday on the decision to cancel his imminent appointment as the tenth chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces.

In his appeal to the High Court on Wednesday, Galant claimed that the state comptroller exceeded his authority when he investigated the affair in which Galant is accused of improperly adding land to his property. Galant claimed that Lindenstrauss probed the case illegally since a petition had already been issued on the subject, which the attorney general was due to respond to.

Galant gave an interview that was broadcasted on several Israeli television stations Friday evening in which he reiterated his claim that he was unjustly disqualified from becoming chief of staff and that he was not given sufficient opportunity to defend himself.

"I didn’t lie, I didn't mislead, I didn't do wrong and I certainly didn't do anything deliberately," Galant said in a Channel 1 interview. "I regret the mistakes I made in planning and building, but we are talking about something very small that was blown out of proportion. If you are questioning my integrity-I have been leading soldiers for 34 years and they have followed me and had faith in me. With all due respect to the Attorney General, he is not the ethical or moral authority- that authority is reserved for those at the operational level"

Galant also reiterated his complaints against the media's coverage of the case, saying, "I feel as though I have been perceived in a normative way my entire life, and all of a sudden, in an instant, I have become the enemy of the nation. You want to choose a chief of staff based on a deviation in building? When a volcano erupts, not a single person will remember the land grab case."