IDF Northern and Central Commanders Resign

Two top IDF generals are resigning. Northern District Commander Udi Adam handed in his resignation Wednesday and Central District Commander Yair Naveh sent his Monday.

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Yechiel Spira and Ezra HaLevi, | updated: 07:31

Maj.-Gen. Adam told friends that “my conscience is clear,” regarding the war in Lebanon. His decision, they say, is prompted by strained relations with the military’s senior command, including Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz.

During the war, Halutz announced that he had total confidence in Adam and his professional abilities, but nevertheless, decided to appoint Deputy Chief of Staff Moshe Kaplinsky to ‘oversee’ operations in the Northern Command - specifically IDF troops operating in Lebanon.

Strained relations were reported on day one of the war, July 12th, when Adam refused Halutz’s directive to remove Galilee Forces Chief Brigadier-General Gal Hirsch, threatening to quit if Hirsch was dismissed from his post. The situation between the two only deteriorated since.

At the time, all analysts were in agreement that the move, while not unprecedented, was a ‘slap in the face’ to the senior commander, who has been in the IDF some 30 years. Adam told reporters during the war that while he “has a lot to say, much to get off his chest,” circumstances did not permit that he comment on the events.

Adam recently told associates that he welcomes any inquiry into the war, confident that “the truth will come out,” adding the public will learn what really occurred. Adam seems to welcome an inquiry, stating the deficiencies will be seen by all and the true events will be known.

Some speculate that Adam was being set up by the Chief of Staff and Defense Minister Amir Peretz to take the blame for the confusing orders and equivocation at the war's beginning.

Adam Praised, Others Called on to Follow Suit
Likud Knesset Member Yuval Shteinitz, former head of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, praised Udi Adam for stepping down as head of the Northern Command and called on other IDF officers to follow his example.

Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer (Labor), a former IDF brigadier-general and Defense Minister himself, applauded Adam's actions and called on IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz to “come forward and speak, and to accept responsibility.”

Defense Minister Amir Peretz referred to Adam's resignation, saying that "such an announcement by a general cannot be ignored" and that leaders need to examine the decision.

MK Ami Ayalon (Labor) praised Adam's "responsible decision" and called on Peretz himself to follow. "Brigadier General Adam is not the only one responsible for the events of the war in Lebanon. There are those in the political echelon who are responsible, and I think Peretz needs to own up to this responsibility and resign," Ayalon said.

Yair Naveh to Resign
Adam's resignation comes just two days after a letter was delivered to the Chief of Staff regarding the resignation of Cental District Commander Yair Naveh. Rumors have circulated as to the reason’s for Naveh’s resignation, but until now no official explanation has been offered.

During his career as IDF commander of the central region, Naveh oversaw the destruction of four communities in Samaria, as part of Ariel Sharon’s Disengagement Plan.

Naveh, an outwardly religious kippa-wearing Jew, also commanded troops at the hilltop community of Amona, during which hundreds of protestors, including minors, were hospitalized. In addition, the administrative detention orders handed out in Judea and Samaria, jailing Jewish activists without trial, have all been issued by Naveh.

Analysts predict that following his retirement at the year's end, Naveh will have something to say regarding the war in Lebanon, disappointed that the General Staff reportedly failed to consult with him during the war.