Almost-IDF Chief of Staff Galant Shares His Defense Philosophy
In his first public comments since he was removed as a candidate for IDF Chief of Staff at the last minute, Yoav Galant on Tuesday said that the revolutions in the Arab world were not positive developments for Israel. “In the best case, these countries will emerge with the same kinds of leaders that were deposed, but in the less positive cases, Islamic elements will join the governments in these countries.
“There is no liberal Arab leader waiting in the wings in the U.S., Canada or Iran to institute Western reforms for these countries. For Israel, I do not foresee a better future with these new rulers than we had with the old ones,” he said.
Galant was speaking at Bar-Ilan University's Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies on the occasion of the publishing of his new book, “Israel versus Iran.” Galant dedicated a good portion of his speech to Iran, saying that “Iran is constantly attacking us in various ways. They recruit agents and attempt to incite division and strife between us and the Arab nations. Part of this strategy has to do with the struggle between Iran and Iraq – better that the Arabs fight us than they fight Iran, Tehran says.”
Galant said that Israel needed to develop a defense strategy that would appropriate for the various fronts it faces – and not all fronts are the same. For example, he said, “Hamas is our most aggressive enemy, but also our weakest enemy. This is a good place for the IDF to conduct exercises and drills so we can apply the lessons learned there to other fronts.” He added that Hamas' weapons and rockets were improving, but that Israel was ready for them.
The speech was a sampling of what Israel could have expected from its IDF Chief of Staff if things had gone differently. Galant was the leading candidate for the post and actually was appointed Chief of Staff - until two weeks before he was to take the job, when he was essentially fired by Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu over allegations that he had taken over state property at his home in Amikam.