Former intelligence chief: Let IDF officials speak

INSS head Amos Yadlin backs Ya'alon's call on IDF officers to publicly express their views.

Uzi Baruch,

Amos Yadlin
Amos Yadlin
Gideon Markowicz/Flash 90

The head of the Institute for National Security Studies, Amos Yadlin, on Monday expressed support for Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon’s call on IDF officers to publicly express their views, which resulted in a reprimand from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

“It is the duty of officers and commanders to express their views using professional integrity and it is the duty of the political leadership to preserve the freedom of thought and expression of military officials,” said Yadlin, who added that a culture centered around questions and challenges is the core strength of the IDF.

“A professional and strategic analysis and a moral and ethical position do not weaken our national strength, but rather reinforce it,” he said, noting that an open debate is one of the differences between Israel and countries around it.

“These days it is very important to back the Defense Minister, who acts according to an internal compass and does not allow the army to be dragged into inappropriate political realms,” added Yadlin.

The comments follow a conversation between Netanyahu and Ya’alon earlier Monday, in which the Prime Minister reminded his Defense Minister that it is the IDF which answers the political echelon, and not the other way around.

"Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ya'alon met this morning and clarified the statements between them," read a joint statement released after the meeting.

"There is no undermining, and there was no such undermining, of the fact that the army is subordinate to the political echelon, and the officers are free to express their opinion in the appropriate forums."

The meeting at Netanyahu's official residence in Jerusalem and the showdown between the two centers on controversial statements by IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Yair Golan, who compared Israel and Nazi Germany at a Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony before clarifying his comments and backtracking.