The former Israeli army chief of staff, Gadi Eisenkot, said on Tuesday that the behavior of the next Israeli government could lead to the dismantling of the army.
Army Radio quoted him as saying in a conference held by the “Israel Democracy Institute” (private), that the behavior of the future coalition undermines the authority of the leadership in the Israeli army, harms public confidence and may lead to the dismantling of the army.
Eisenkot is a member of the Knesset for the “official camp” party led by Defense Minister Benny Gantz, and previously held the position of Chief of Staff of the Army between 2015 and 2019.
Eisenkot criticized granting the leader of the far-right “Jewish Power” party, Itamar Ben Gvir, the internal security portfolio in the government that Benjamin Netanyahu is forming.
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Eisenkot considered that granting Ben Gvir broad powers, including the Border Police forces in the West Bank, would harm Israeli security.
For his part, Prime Minister Yair Lapid said, on Tuesday, in a tweet: “The next government presents Itamar Ben Gvir, the national security minister convicted of supporting terrorism, one of the goals of the Shin Bet (General Security Service), and his role now begins with fighting against the Israeli army and slandering its leaders.”
Lapid was responding to Ben Gvir, who warned the Israeli army commanders against holding two Israeli soldiers accountable for assaulting an Israeli left-wing activist in the city of Hebron, in the southern West Bank, a few days ago.
Following the broadcast of a video clip of the assault on social networks, the Chief of Staff of the Israeli Army, Aviv Kochavi, decided to suspend them from service until the end of the investigation with them.
But Ben Gvir said in a tweet on Tuesday that sending a soldier to prison for 10 days only because he said, “Ben Gvir will impose security here, is crossing the red line and transmitting a harmful message to the soldiers of the Israeli army.”
He added, referring to the Israeli leftists: “We must not let the anarchists who distort us forever, we must support the soldiers and not weaken them.. The Israeli army soldiers are our protection and we will protect them. The time has come.”
In a recorded message he posted on social media, Ben Gvir criticized the army chief of staff, saying, “I demand the chief of staff and the entire command to think twice about this punishment.”
He added: “Soldiers can be set aside and told to react more appropriately to the current situation, but sending them to prison for 10 days is not the appropriate punishment.”
“This is unreasonable, disproportionate, incorrect and inappropriate,” Ben Gvir continued.
The Israeli Prime Minister-designate, Benjamin Netanyahu, is currently working on forming a right-wing government that includes hard-line parties.