Disgraced General Seeks Way Back Into IDF

Imad Fares asks army to reverse dismissal for falsifiying report on a car accident involving his wife.

Brig. Gen. Imad Fares on Sunday petitioned the Administrative Affairs Court in Tel Aviv to reverse his dismissal from the Israel Defense Forces.

Fares is asking to remain in the army and be given a post suitable to his skills and rank. He has also petitioned for an injunction against army officials from moving up his original retirement date of July 2011.

Imad Fares - Yaron Kaminsky - 2004
Yaron Kaminsky

Fares' dismissal came after he falsified a report to the IDF about a car accident involving his wife, who was driving Fares' army-issued car, by stating that he had been present. Army regulations prohibit spouses from driving the army's cars unless the officer is in the car as well. Fares petitioned the court against Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, GOC Northern Command Gadi Eizenkot and other officers.

In the petition, in which Fares said he feels like he "had his back to the wall" and was subjected to "a field court marshal," he says Eizenkot misled him by saying he had heard "whispers" from a general on the General Staff regarding a car accident similar to that of Brig. Gen. Moshe Tamir, when in fact, Eizenkot concealed the fact that the "whispers" came from a Yedioth Ahronoth reporter.

Tamir's son had been driving an army-issue ATV and had gotten into an accident; during the investigation Tamir falsely said he had been driving.

Fares first told Eizenkot he was with his wife in the car, but the next day told him he had not, and filled out a military police report to that effect.

Fares says that the next day he was summoned to the military police where, the petition states, "it quickly became clear to the petitioner that this was a military police investigation in every way."

Fares claims that Ashkenazi was looking for a reason to end his military career and the car accident was a pretext. He says Ashkenazi warned him that if he did not retire, the army head would bring up other charges.

When on April 29, Fares was summoned to Ashkenazi's office, he was hoping Ashkenazi would change his mind and renew his appointment as commander of the battalion commanders' course, since his disciplinary hearing had ended with a mere reprimand.

But at the meeting, also attended by Eizenkot, Fares' commanding officer at the time, Ashkenazi insisted that Fares retire immediately.

Fares comes out fighting

When Fares finally decided to fight his dismissal, the April meeting was central to his arguments.

However, when Fares requested a copy of the recording of the meeting, the chief of staff's office refused, saying the recording had been classified as "top secret."

Fares was eventually given the recording and documentation, following legal wrangling, but two critical minutes were found missing from both documentations. Problems with the recording prevented very important remarks exchanged between Fares and the chief of staff from being heard.

This was not the first affair Fares became tangled up in, and despite the high esteem in which he is held as an officer, quite a few of his colleagues believe his dismissal was justified. However, the issues Fares brings up ostensibly show some strange conduct by the army's top brass.

In the background, of course, looms not only the Tamir affair, but the larger Galant document affair.

Considering the continuing revelations regarding alleged forgery of the document and the fact that so far no steps have been taken against those involved, no wonder Fares feels that the army steam rolller has decided to run roughshod over him.