Former IDF Manpower Head: Gaza Operation Because of Elections
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak started Operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza because of electoral considerations, Maj. Gen. (res.) Elazar Stern said on Thursday.
"How can it be that the prime minister and defense minister decide on such an operation two months before the election?" Stern, formerly the head of the IDF’s Manpower Directorate, said during an interview on Channel 2.
Stern called to postpone the elections by 90 days, saying there must be a "cooling off period" between the IDF operation in Gaza and the election.
He wondered why Israel responded by almost starting a war in Gaza when an IDF jeep was targeted by an anti-tank missile.
“These are soldiers and patrolling the border is part of their job. That’s what we have the army for,” Stern said, adding he believes that an attack on soldiers is less significant than attacks on innocent Israeli citizens.
Stern declined to comment about recent reports that he is considering running for the Knesset as part of Rabbi Haim Amsalem “Am Shalem” party.
Earlier Thursday, former Chief Military Rabbi Brig. Gen. Rabbi Avichai Ronsky called the ceasefire with Hamas "a huge failure."
Speaking with Arutz Sheva, he said, "You had tens of thousands of soldiers here, from the standing army and mostly the reserves, who left everything – the family, work – and came immediately, out of a strong desire to stop the immense chutzpah of the terror groups, which have started to get us used to having missiles fired at Jerusalem, Rishon Letzion and Tel Aviv.
"The ceasefire, in my eyes, is a great mistake and a disappointment to many."
Barak defended the decision to call a ceasefire rather than launching a ground assault on Gaza, telling Channel 2 on Thursday that it is the government and not the public that must make such decisions.
"I remember situations in which 80% of the Israeli public supported a certain decision, and ten days later it turned out to be a very big failure," he added.
Defending the decision to stop the operation, he said, "The leadership has the appropriate tools. It is still not time to enter Gaza in a very wide operation and conquer it."