Former IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz will join the largest opposition party, Kadima, analysts agree. Halutz, who led the IDF during the Second Lebanon War in 2006, announced on Saturday that he would be entering politics. “The question is not whether or not I will join politics,” he said at a public interview panel event, “The question is when.”
The IDF's performance in the Second Lebanon War was perceived by many in Israel as less than impressive, and Halutz bore the brunt of the criticism, along with then-Defense Minister Amir Peretz. He resigned from his position as Chief of Staff in January of 2007, after the appointment of several commissions of inquiry into the conduct of the war. The most important of these commissions, which was headed by retired judge Eliyahu Vinograd, found that the IDF command had mismanaged the war.
After the war went into private business and maintained a relatively low public profile since the war.
Halutz, a former IAF fighter pilot, was the first IDF Chief of Staff whose military career had been in the Air Force and not in one of the ground forces.
In an interview last week with the al-Hurra Arabic language television network, Halutz said that in retrospect, the Lebanon War seems like a great success. “The State of Israel proved that precisely when the sword is placed on its neck, it knows how to act and defend itself,” he said, “and I suggest to its neighbors that they refrain from testing its abilities.”
If Israel is backed into a corner, he added, it will know how to defend itself.
Kadima, led by former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, favors extensive concessions to the American-backed Palestinian Authority and prides itself on being more in line than Likud with the Middle East agenda of the United States. It won one Knesset seat more than Likud in the last elections but could not form a coalition. Livni refused to enter a coalition with Netanyahu unless she received equal status with him in a rotation deal at the Prime Minister's Office.