Halutz, Close Your Leumi Account

Were I the chief of staff, I would call up Bank Leumi this morning to close my account and transfer it to another bank. I might even move it to another country where they have real bank secrecy, where no one can carry out a targeted character assassination against a public figure through his bank account.

One can find many faults with the running of the army and government in general, and with IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz in particular, over the course of the war in Lebanon. It's conceivable that the chief of staff will be forced to go home. Selling his securities shouldn't be the reason. Halutz failed at least twice in his assessments, when he saw the war taking two to three weeks, and when he thought the liquidation of Hassan Nasrallah was imminent.

There will be those at the General Staff and in the army who will connect many more operational failures to him. All these need to withstand public examination and scrutiny. The air force's unparalleled guidelines for carrying out investigations, in which even a young captain can level harsh complaints against a colonel, ensure that these investigations will be carried out.

One could find an aesthetic blemish in the chief of staff in the heat of an emergency situation, just hours after soldiers were kidnapped and before the outbreak of war, dealing with his personal affairs.

From a public perspective, it would have been best if the chief of staff and influential public figures who impact the political and economic situation didn't invest in the stock market and rather placed their investments with trustees. However, there is no such rule, and the chief of staff is not only an army commander, but also a private citizen with a family that must deal with health problems and private financial matters.

It's reasonable to assume that the chief of staff invested much more of his time during the war to military matters. Is it off limits for him during such long days for him to take a moment for his own affairs? Do we expect the chief of staff not to conduct examinations when he suffers from a medical problem? Does someone really want the chief of staff not to step away for a moment, not to sleep or eat and to neglect his personal, health, family and financial affairs? Wouldn't we prefer he get out of the way any personal problem bothering him in order to focus on managing a war?

The timing of Halutz's concern for his savings provides prime material for satirical programs as well as a public debate on the question of whether it's proper for such senior public figures to manage their own financial portfolios. It shouldn't carry any weight, however, in evaluating Dan Halutz's performance during the war. It's amazing how a financial action taking 2-3 minutes manages to make the chief of staff reek more than a month full of blood and casualties.