Gadi Eizenkot
Gadi Eizenkot Oded Antman

A year and a half after completing his term as Chief of Staff and retiring from the IDF, Gadi Eizenkot is hinting, for the first time, that he intends to join politics.

Speaking in an interview with the Israel Hayom newspaper, Eizenkot said, "I want to make an impact again. I look at my predecessors – Benny [Gantz], Gabi [Ashkenazi], [Dan] Halutz, [Shaul] Mofaz, Bogie [Ya’alon], and even before that, Barak and Rabin and others. After taking a break and staying in a comfort zone you look at what is happening here, and you want to make a better country and have an influence.”

"I was a military secretary to two Prime Ministers, Ehud Barak and Ariel Sharon, and I was with them for 12-16 hours a day. I saw closely that the impact is through leadership and through actions from within the establishments. Sharon told me he appreciates thinking and planning, but execution is most important. Because unlike in the military – where once you decide, everyone does what you decide - in politics, once you decide, everyone works to thwart your decision. And yes, I think that military men have traits that may be less of a fit for politics, but it's important that we maintain them.”

Eizenkot spoke extensively in the interview about the campaign against Iran and said, "This is a decision approved by the Cabinet in early 2017. Since I see it being spoken about and all kinds of things being said, I will say that this decision made by the Cabinet, following my push and recommendation, is a major decision. The Israeli public may not see it, but it affects them in Gaza and everywhere else. The Iranians, and the Quds Force in particular, have been dealt serious blows over the past four years. What they have been able to do to us is disproportionate compared to the blows they received from us."

Removing the Iranians from Syria should be set as a target, said Eizenkot, "But anyone who thinks he will attack a few times and it will happen is a making a bitter mistake. The actions I led, which continue today, prevented the Iranian intention of establishing itself in Syria and starting a fight against Israel, and blocked Hezbollah's buildup, especially in the precise missiles project.”

The former Chief of Staff was asked how far Israel should go in a prisoner exchange deal with Hamas, and replied, "There have been many deals in the past. The model of the Shalit deal must not be repeated, because in the end, it released a lot of terrorists and gave a tailwind to terrorism. We paid heavy prices for it."

Asked what kind of deal would be appropriate, he replied, "I think that the right price was paid in the Goldwasser-Regev deal. They got Samir Kuntar and four other prisoners and 120 bodies. That’s why we have to bring them to the realization that they will pay a price for holding two Israeli civilians who went in there under circumstances not related to combat, and for holding soldiers' bodies and abusing their families."