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Israel will "pay a price" for public criticism of Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon, the new army chief told Ha'aretz in the first interview he has given since taking office in July.

"You stand and try to brake, and they are shooting at you from every direction, and along come people from your side and dig underneath you. Undermine you. This is very frustrating. Very frustrating. Sometimes it drives me crazy," said Ya'alon.

"It is difficult for people to apprehend a reality they do not control, and it is convenient for them to blame the Israeli side, or the army or the chief of staff. It's completely clear that there won't be a defensive shield if people from Israel come and break it or undermine it."

He called the criticism "pathological" and blamed the media. "I am disturbed by the role of the media in building this concept. Even though it is seemingly not enlisted in the cause, it had a central role in building the concept. It led it."

Ya'alon rejected criticism following a speech he gave at a convention hosted by the Chief Rabbinate Sunday. He said he was amazed by the fact that things he said in a closed forum were recorded and leaked to the press. But what was particularly annoying, he said, was that his words were distorted.

Attacking the chief of staff in the media is attractive, and the State of Israel will pay a price for it, he said. The Palestinians will use it for their purposes to claim the army has its own policies.

Ya'alon said it is his duty to give his professional opinion and to accurately describe how various Israeli moves are perceived by the Arabs. He protested in particular against the fact that some political elements manipulated his words to attack both the army and him personally.

The full interview appears in this weekend's magazine.