Text size

A number of senior career officers yesterday blasted the IDF chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi's decision on Sunday to dismiss a senior officer for covering up, then filing a false report on an accident that involved his teenage son.

More than two years ago, Brig. Gen. Moshe Tamir's son, who was driving the officer's army-issue all-terrain vehicle on an unpaved road, collided with a car. Tamir first tried to cover up the accident but later, when required to file a special report on the incident, claimed he had been driving the vehicle.

Tamir had previously been demoted to the rank of colonel over the incident after military judges found he had covered up the accident.

Deputy Defense Minister MK Matan Vilnai (Labor) called the incident "tragic" yesterday, but said it ended with the right decision. "Ashkenazi demonstrated real leadership, although the tribunal apparently gave him another option. He did the right thing and proved the IDF isn't only words but actions as well. Think how civilian systems would act in an incident of this kind," he said.

Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Yaalon, a former chief of staff himself, said in a radio interview that Ashkenazi had made "a difficult but correct decision, conveying that even a glorious record won't help you if you fail the moral test in setting a personal example."

However, senior officers slammed Ashkenazi's decision, which they said caused Tamir injustice by dragging out the affair for two years before deciding to end the officer's career.

"Ashkenazi now says his decision is based on the value of reporting the truth," one officer said. "If that's his conclusion, why did he delay his decision for almost four months, since the appeals tribunal ruled on the case, keeping Tamir dangling all this time? Only a few weeks ago, when Brig. Gen. Imad Fares was brought before a disciplinary tribunal, Tamir received a message from the chief of staff that if he sat quietly his case would be solved to everyone's satisfaction," he said.

Another officer said: "It's strange that shortly after [the tribunal's verdict] the chief of staff showed Tamir the door. He could have at least hinted to Tamir of his intention and enabled him to announce his resignation. There was no reason to degrade him like that."

Some officers said Ashkenazi had a tendency to get rid of senior officers when it was not necessary to do so. "The operative ranks are emptying of outstanding officers," one officer said.

Another senior officer, Col. Israel Danieli, was recently sentenced to a harsh reprimand, 21 days of suspended prison and a NIS 1000 fine for several incidents of allowing civilians, including his partner, to use his army-issue vehicle and other IDF property. The tribunal also decided to end Danieli's military service.

Danieli's attorneys said he had not been dismissed from the IDF but ended his service by agreement. They said he was tried for minor offenses that had nothing to do with the Tamir affair.