Daily Israel Report

MK Calls for 'Mouth Cooling' Period

Former military and intelligence leaders should be required to take six months to “cool their mouths” before giving interviews, says MK Matalon.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 5/29/2011, 7:16 PM / Last Update: 5/29/2011, 7:26 PM

Flash 90

Top IDF officers and other security personnel who step down should take several months to “cool their mouths” before speaking out about issues related to their former jobs, MK Moshe Matalon said Sunday in an interview with Arutz Sheva's Hebrew-language news service.

“It's a danger to democracy... We have a serious problem,” said Matalon, who serves on the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

Former IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi recently aroused controversy when, shortly after stepping down, he publicly stated that the IDF does not know where kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit is. “We cannot use military force to free Shalit,” he told an audience at a business forum at Bar Ilan University.

Outgoing Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) director Yuval Diskin called on the Shin Bet to keep a closer eye on “radical right-wing” Jews shortly after leaving office in May, and also publicly reversed his policy on Palestinian Authority unilateralism.

Ashkenazi, Diskin and others are "wonderful people" who gave much to the state of Israel and should be lauded for that, Matalon said. However, he said, “They leave, and they let themselves talk... We have people whose job it is to make decisions. If they do not agree, they need to give back the keys and go, or do what they are told. Now, after resigning, they still have the obligation to keep quiet, because they still hold the state of Israel's biggest secrets.”

Matalon currently has no plans to promote legislation regarding the issue, but expressed hope that new guidelines would be created that require outgoing senior military figures to keep quiet about their work for six months after resigning.

Matalon voiced similar concerns after former Mossad chief Meir Dagan spoke about Israel's military capabilities vis-a-vis Iran shortly after stepping down. “Silence befits the wise,” he said at the time.