Daily Israel Report

Ex-General: Galant's Contact with Sharon Spoiled Him

Maj-Gen (res.) Yoram Yair sees direct connection between Yoav Galant's term as Sharon's military secretary and his woes.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 2/6/2011, 9:09 PM / Last Update: 2/6/2011, 9:19 PM

Flash 90

According to Major-General (res.) Yoram Yair, Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant would have become the IDF's 20th Chief of Staff if he hadn't served as Ariel Sharon's military secretary when Sharon was prime minister. Yair, who is widely known in Israel by the nickname Ya-Ya, thinks that serving in that capacity spoiled Galant and made him more susceptible to the kind of borderline corruption he has been accused of, which resulted in the government's last-minute rejection of his candidacy.. 

In an interview with Arutz Sheva, Yair said that the storm around Galant's appointment - which failed over accusations that he expropriated land unlawfully and lied in a court affidavit in a legal battle with neighbors regarding the land - has caused him to try and locate the root cause of the problem. 
 
"One of the problems is the fact that major-generals at the height of their careers are appointed to serve as prime ministers' military secretaries," he explained, adding that in his opinion, a brigadier-general or an intelligence officer could do the job just as well. "The exposure of the major-generals to the pitfalls of politics, with its corruption, personal interests and ego-battles - this exposure is improper in my eyes."  
 
"Not all those who pass [through the job of PM's military secretary] fail, but it has no place," he explained. "When I look back and ask myself what happened to Galant, one can say with confidence that if he hadn't worked in the prime minister's bureau and hadn't connected with the 'Ranch Forum' [as Sharon's inner circle was known] - he would be Chief of Staff today."
 
Yair explained that prime ministers sometimes appoint a general to be their secretary because they like him and want to help him advance his career. However, "the language of politicians is foreign to the military men and they lose their innocence. When a Naval Commando commander and a division commander who wants only to serve the country arrives at the prime minister's office and meets politicians who are interested only in their personal advancement, his world of concepts becomes warped. I have seen enough major-generals who changed in this capacity. They became less naive. They understood the force of power."