Court overturns decision by IDF Chief of Staff

Aviv Kochavi, IDF Chief of Staff, decided to fire a commander - but the court overturned his decision.

Yoni Kempinski ,

Aviv Kochavi
Aviv Kochavi
Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90

An Israeli court this week overturned a decision by IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi to fire Major Gilad Franken, who formerly served as commander of the Investigational Military Police (IMP) base in Be'er Sheva.

Franken was fired due to the suicide of a Givati soldier, Sergeant Niv Lobton, after IMP intelligence directors attempted to enlist him as an agent.

"These steps need to meet the army's protocols and the rules of administrative court," Judge Orna Levi wrote in her ruling. "They need to be appropriate, proportional, and based properly on facts - not personal feelings, especially after there were professional and authoritative investigations of the event. They need to have detailed explanations."

Yamina chairman Naftali Bennett responded: "A court interfering in the IDF Chief of Staff's decision to fire a commander is outrageous. The commander of the army is the Chief of Staff, not the judges in court, and the Chief of Staff bears full responsibility for the IDF. This is one more [time] the court is crossing a red line - something which paralyzes all of the State's systems. Authority without responsibility. We'll deal with it."

MK Bezalel Smotrich, who heads the Religious Zionist party, responded: "If we continue to allow the court to go wild and intefere in whatever it wants, we will continue to receive more and more outrageous rulings, and more and more harm to the IDF and the State's security."

An IDF spokesman responded: "Following the death of IDF soldier Corporal Niv Lobton, of blessed memory, indictments were filed against two intelligence directors. In addition, a special staff of experts was formed to examine the issue of enlisting sources in the IMP, and how they operate. The staff's conclusions and lessons are already being implemented on the ground. As part of the authoritative steps taken, it was decided that the commander of the unit in which these directors served, a commander at the rank of major, will be removed from his position as commander in the military police and his promotion will be delayed."

"It must be clarified that the process was done by the commanders, after they found serious failings in the commander's functioning, and not just because of his position as commander. The IDF is committed to carefully protecting the lives of its soldiers, and demands full responsibility from the IDF commanders, who are required to do everything in order to ensure the welfare of their soldiers. The IDF is interested in appealing this decision and is examining the possibility with the State Prosecutor."



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