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      Barak Slams Ashkenazi, Claims 'Ethical Issues'

      Defense Minister Ehud Barak slams Chief of Staff Ashkenazi, claiming “ethical, normative issues.” Ashkenazi: I'm leaving a strong army.
      By Maayana Miskin
      First Publish: 2/2/2011, 10:37 PM / Last Update: 2/3/2011, 12:12 AM

      Flash 90

      Defense Minister Ehud Barak slammed IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi on Wednesday, unleashing unprecedented criticism of his work. Barak raised questions Tuesday when he decided to appoint General Yair Naveh as temporary Chief of Staff rather than extend Ashkenazi's term by two months.

      “There are serious ethical, normative, and even professional issues involved here,” Barak said. “I won't get into details, in order to preserve the dignity of the office of Chief of Staff.”

      He also pointed out that he was not forcing Ashkenazi to step down prematurely, but rather, simply not extending his time in the position.

      Ashkenazi appeared to respond to the claims in a speech later Wednesday evening in honor of IDF soldiers left handicapped in battle. He said, “I am leaving behind an army that is professional, moral and normative, and that is focused on its central and only mission.

      “The IDF is stronger than everything happening around it,” he added. “The IDF does not belong to any one person; the IDF belongs to all of us.”

      He went on to praise the contribution made by soldiers who sacrificed their health to protect Israel, and revealed that he had been wounded as a young officer, and had spent some time in rehabilitation.

      Wounded soldiers must fight “the war after the war,” he said, by undergoing a grueling recovery process. “The IDF will continue to be at your side through this war as well,” he declared.