Will IDF general be disqualified from Labor slate?

Central Elections Committee says Major General Tal Russo may not have completed cooling-off period.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Avi Gabbay and Tal Russo
Avi Gabbay and Tal Russo

Justice Hanan Melcer, chairman of the Central Elections Committee, said on Monday that an examination of the list of candidates for the Knesset found that Maj. Gen. (res.) Tal Russo, who was placed in the number two spot on the Labor slate, had served until May 10, 2017, as IDF Major General.

Melcer asked the Labor Party to submit its position on the eligibility of Russo’s candidacy, as it appears that three years have not passed since he completed his IDF service and until the time he was announced as a candidate for the Knesset, as required by law.

According to the amendment to the Elections Law of 2007, the cooling-off period for senior members of the defense establishment is three years from the end of their term in office, instead of six months as was the case before the amendment was enacted.

Labor Party chairman Avi Gabbay announced last week that he would place Russo in the number two spot on the Labor slate which had been reserved for a candidate of Gabbay’s choice.

The Labor Party said on Monday that "Major-General (res.) Tal Russo was discharged from the IDF in February 2014 and returned to reserve duty as commander of the Depth Corps at the request of Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot."

"We are certain that matters will be clarified and that he will represent the citizens of Israel with respect in the next Knesset," the party added.

Meanwhile, the Central Elections Committee is also examining the eligibility of Pinchas Idan, former head of the Israel Airports Authority workers committee, to compete on the Likud list for the Knesset.

According to the law, "a civil servant whose rank is one of the four highest ranks on any ranking scale" cannot be a candidate for the Knesset. A letter sent by the committee to the Likud states that Idan was ranked at the highest level on the Israel Airport Authority's scale and had his ranking dropped by four points last month.

"In light of this change in rank, ostensibly made for the purpose of submitting the candidacy, the position of the Likud and the Attorney General on the issue is required," said the Central Elections Committee.