Addressing the Sderot conference at the Kay Academic College of Education in Be'er Sheva, former IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Col. Gadi Eisenkott blasted MK Itamar Ben Gvir, alleging that "only someone who hasn’t served in the army wouldn’t know that the one who sets the rules of engagement is the Chief of Staff.”
Regarding coalition formation with the Joint List, he said: "I don't see a point in the partnership with the Joint List. They want an All Citizen’s state, meaning we can't execute operations like the one which took place last night with them in the coalition. Any talk about the Muslim Brotherhood as part of the coalition is irrelevant."
Regarding the issue of the captive soldiers in Gaza, he noted: "Unfortunately, I failed in my mission.”
“We have a huge debt that will only be paid once Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin return to Israel for proper burial,” he said.
During his hourlong remarks at the Sderot conference, Eisenkott, a candidate of the National Unity Camp party, raised ideas which include the changing of the rules of engagement for the demolition of buildings.
“These have no practical meanings. Defeating knife terrorism is not through slogans, it sounds tempting but it’s highly impractical,” he said.
Regarding the question of changing the rules of engagement as proposed by Ben Gvir, Eisenkott replied that "changing the rules of engagement are not decided by the minister in charge and only someone who didn’t serve in the army can make an amateur assumption like that, and doesn’t know that the one who sets the rules of engagement is the IDF Chief of Staff.”
Speaking about the possibility of Opposition leader Netanyahu serving as prime minister, Eisenkott noted that "you can't become the mayor of Be’er Sheva, Ashkelon or Eilat if you have indictments.”
“So would it make sense to be Prime Minister while dealing with external and internal challenges? What serves as a buffer between the reality of terrorist attacks and anarchy, is our soldiers and commanders and our shared values. How do you achieve a stable government which knows how to deal with all the challenges of the State of Israel alongside the makeup of the political map?” he said.
“And yet, in these elections, the tremendous threats of Iran pale compared to our internal challenges. When I hear the heated discourse which were heard also here as well, I understand that our internal security is in jeopardy. It seems that in the last decade the condition of the State of Israel has been significantly undermined in the ability to live in peripheral areas. In the last decade there was a significant decline of the Israeli Police.”
Eisenkott commented that he had “formulated a national plan on strengthening the police and the internal security”
“This is how we can fight protectionism, terrorism, and settlements infiltration. The goal is to double the Israeli Police manpower over a decade. Recovering the governance and personal security is seen as a high priority, but in the last four years, politics has been too self-caring, neglecting entirely the citizens’ personal security,” he said.
According to him, there are three possible outcomes of the elections.
“The first is a tie - Yair Lapid will not be able to form a government, the second is a Netanyahu government with the right wing having difficulty generating internal and external legitimacy and the political and military strength alongside a lacking of the innovative approach which essentially won’t exist, therefore will be insignificant. The third option is through the one who knows how to make correct decisions with values. Benny Gantz is a clean man with values who has led soldiers.”
Noting that he had previously voted for the centrist parties and for the Likud, he asked a question during his speech: “Can a teacher or administrator be charged with an indictment? The answer is also on a practical level, as this person would be busy several days a week with his trial."
Regarding the establishment of a coalition with the Joint list, Eisenkott stated: "I don't see the point in their partnership. The Arab parties want an All Citizens state, meaning, we can't execute operations like the one which took place last night with them in the Coalition. Any rhetoric that places the Muslim Brotherhood as part of the coalition is irrelevant, period."
Eisenkott was also asked about the issue of the captive soldiers.
He stressed that "we have a great moral obligation to return Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin. As a former Chief of Staff, I unfortunately failed the task. We have a huge debt that will only be paid once Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin return to Israel for proper burial.”