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IDF Breaks Rightwards

"We will apply disproportionate force on it and cause great damage and destruction there. From our standpoint, these are not civilian villages, they are military bases."—Major General Gadi Eizenkot speaking about Lebanon



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The picture accompanying this paragraph is incredible. Taken on January 14, 2013, it shows the ceremony in which Major General Gadi Eizenkot became the new IDF's Deputy Chief of General Staff. On the picture's left is Minister of Defense Ehud Barak, who will retire after the upcoming elections, next to him are Gadi Eizenkot and Yair Naveh, his predecessor. Towering over them is Lieutenant General Benny Gantz, the current Chief of the General Staff. Days before his retirement and for the first time in his life, Barak didn't push everybody else in order to be at the center of the picture; a small show of humility which came too late to be convincing.

Gadi Eizenkot—New IDF's Deputy Chief of General Staff

Gadi Eizenkot—New IDF's Deputy Chief of General Staff
Blood and Religion: The Unmasking of the Jewish and Democratic State

The other surprising issue is the date of the picture. The retiring general served in this position just two years. At this level, there are no set rules regarding the length of the post, but three years would have been considered a full term, despite the current Chief of the General Staff having served in that position just one year before being promoted. The current change looks so suspicious that Attorney General of Israel* Yehuda Weinstein asked the Minister of Defense to clarify why this change was made and why it couldn't wait until after the elections. In other words, the Attorney General suspected political considerations regarding the event. He had good reasons for fearing that, despite his later approval of Eizenkot.

Amona 2006

Amona 2006
Victory For Us Is to See You Suffer

A Lefty in the General Command

The IDF is tightly organized; it is driven by its General Headquarters (HaMate HaKlali). All major generals (alufim)—officers who run the different directorates of the army—are part of this body, which operates in the Rabin Base in Tel Aviv. Only one of its officers is a lieutenant general (rav-aluf) and functions as commander of the army. Deputy Chief of General Staff is not a well-defined post; there were periods in which the IDF functioned without one and until 1999, the position implied also being Head of the Operations Directorate (Agam). After this two positions were formally separated, the Deputy was vaguely defined as responsible for "constructing the IDF power." By law, he is not defined as the Chief of General Staff replacement. In other words, he supervises non-operative issues and might become the next Chief.

Yair Naveh—the leaving Deputy—is an unusual officer. He was the first Nationalistic Religious to become major general; his political affiliation is easily recognizable by his handwoven "kipah" skullcap. Ariel Sharon promoted him to Head of Home Front Command and in 2005, to Head of Central Command (which is responsible for the West Bank). He was expected to create a positive attitude between the IDF and the settlers. The following year, he destroyed the outpost of Amona by order of the Supreme Court and became the settlers' Nemesis. In 2007, he expectedly left the IDF, only to be called back in 2010, to serve as Deputy. Like army commander Gantz, he was one of the few officers that had not been tainted by Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. Yet, he didn't enjoy the trust of hardliners, and the settler leaders kept issuing slightly disguised insults in his direction ("he was just fulfilling orders," was probably the most popular among these). In parallel, the political map in Israel kept moving rightwards to the extent that for the first time in a generation, there is no doubt who will be Prime Minister after the elections. Seizing the opportunity, Naveh was dismissed prematurely.


Barak—Eizenkot | "We will apply disproportionate force on it and cause great damage and destruction there. From our standpoint, these are not civilian villages, they are military bases."—Major General Gadi Eizenkot speaking about Lebanon


Ashkenazi (f)—Barak—Eizenkot

Ashkenazi (f)—Barak—Eizenkot
Israel's Secret Wars: A History of Israel's Intelligence Services

"Break their arms and legs"

"Break their arms and legs" is probably one of the most infamous orders ever given in the IDF. It was issued by Minister of Defense Yitzhak Rabin in 1987, during the First Intifada. Its incomparable finesse and subtlety has been matched by the new Deputy, Gadi Eizenkot. In 2006, while Commander of the Northern Command, he said to Yedioth Aharonot, "Israel finally realizes that Arabs should be accountable for their leaders' acts." Later on, he clarified this unambiguous statement, "We will wield disproportionate power against every village from which shots are fired on Israel, and cause immense damage and destruction," Eizenkot said to the same newspaper in October 2008, and added "from our perspective, these are military bases." Since then, this is called the "Dahiya Doctrine," after the location of the Hezbollah headquarters in Beirut. The neighborhood was leveled in the 2006 War. He concluded "This is a plan. And it has been approved."

His words identify him politically. The main ideologist behind Herut (the predecessor of the modern Likud party) Ze'ev Jabotinsky, wrote in The Iron Wall (1923): "All colonization, even the most restricted, must continue in defiance of the will of the native population," and "every indigenous people will resist alien settlers as long as they see any hope of ridding themselves of the danger of foreign settlement." "Two Banks has the Jordan – This is ours and, that is as well," he added in 1929 in a poem. General Eizenkot shifted Jabotinsky's statement northwards, towards Lebanon. Benjamin Netanyahu is thriving. After the elections, he will replace Minister of Defense Ehud Barak with somebody closer to him. Days before the elections, he got rid of a National Religious general who wouldn't defy a mere Supreme Court order and replaced him with a beast of Jabotinskyal-magnitude, who preaches brutal colonial domination of Israel over its surroundings. The IDF has a tight chain of command; Benjamin Netanyahu is mimicking it, surrounding himself with loyal officers of similar militant ideology. Soon after the elections the operational reasons for this will be clear.

* Attorney General of Israel (HaYoetz HaMishpati LaMemshala, literally The Legal Advisor to the Government) is the head of the executive branch legal system. Israel’s State Attorney (in Hebrew: Praklitut Hamedinah) is the legal representative of the State of Israel in its courts.

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