First Galant, then Barak
Even were the cabinet to insist on showing tolerance for the flaws in Galant's civilian conduct, Galant would be unable to command the Israel Defense Forces effectively.
Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein effectively put an end yesterday to the chapter of Yoav Galant's chief of staff appointment. Even though his language was cautious, leaving room for the cabinet to reexamine the matter, its ministers should pick another general for the job. The roiling Middle East cannot wait.
Even were the cabinet to insist on showing tolerance for the flaws in Galant's civilian conduct on account of his military capabilities, and even were the High Court of Justice to be persuaded on this matter, Galant would be unable to command the Israel Defense Forces effectively. He sees himself as the victim of an outrageous injustice, but as an old warhorse he has to know that the collective mission is supposed to be above any individual, even the highest-ranking commander. No one could possibly give the IDF the kind of leadership that it and the state deserve after traveling the rocky road still faced by Galant on his way to the chief of staff's office.
It is the cabinet, and above all Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who should pay the public price for their hasty, haphazard gamble in choosing Galant.
Barak paid lip service last summer to considering possible candidates for chief of staff, but from the get-go he wanted Galant, who is considered an ideological partner of Barak and Netanyahu in that he leans toward a military operation against Iran. Barak misused his authority as a representative of the political leadership. He did not bother to examine the accusations regarding Galant's conduct, and he got the cabinet and the advisory committee on senior civil service appointments, led by retired Justice Jacob Turkel, to sign off on the appointment - leaving the vetting to the High Court, the state comptroller and the attorney general. In so doing, Barak created an unprecedented crisis just days before the end of Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi's term.
The judgment of Barak, who acts impulsively and aggressively, can no longer be trusted. A defense minister must resign after such a major blow. If Barak cannot face up to this, then the cabinet must deny him the authority to recommend the next chief of staff and instruct a ministerial committee to conduct a sober and considered search for the best candidate. Until that happens - quickly, we hope - Ashkenazi should be asked to stay on.